World Vision fears military intervention in Mali

As regional leaders consider their response to the occupation of northern Mali, World Vision has called for the needs of women and children to be a priority.

Mali's neighbours are divided over how to address the conflict. Algeria is among those advocating dialogue. Guinea argues that mediation efforts will not succeed and that there is no choice but to use force.

World Vision said in a statement that any conversations about military intervention must begin with consideration for the most vulnerable groups, particularly children who are "at risk of getting caught in the crossfire".

Chance Briggs, World Vision's national director in Mali said: "Mali is a country whose people are dealing with immense challenges from dire poverty, a food and nutrition crisis, and the political and security crises.

"We have seen hundreds of thousands of people forced to flee their homes, especially women and children."

World Vision is already in Mali providing humanitarian support to people suffering as a result of the current drought and food crisis with cash for work and food for work programmes.

The agency said it was prepared to respond if the escalating violence led to an increase in the humanitarian need.

Briggs added: "It would be intolerable to see further pain and suffering heaped on children and their families in Mali. They have enough to deal with in the past few months."

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