In the north east of Mali, irregular rainfall and political instability has meant basics like water are becoming scarce.
In the town of Kidal, the closest water supply is a 10km walk away – queues start at 5am and last for hours. A single barrel costs almost 7 euros. Some residents blame the UN’s peacekeeping force MINUSMA for the water shortage.
“It truly is a crisis situation, and MINUSMA is responsible for it,” said Mazou Ibrahim Toure, a resident of Kidal. “Even with all of its power and means, MINUSMA has not been able to create new water sources to try and help this population. They don’t do anything. Up until now they haven’t done anything.”
However, the head of the UN mission in Kidal Christophe Sivillon defended his organisation saying:
“The accusations we hear about MINUSMA being the cause of all problems and those relating to water are being made too quickly. We are in a situation where the Malian government isn’t present, and there’s still the fact that 50% of water consumers have left. There used to be a large population in Kidal, but they left, so I don’t think that MINUSMA is taking and stealing the water from Kidal.”
Despite a peace deal signed between the government and the Tuareg-led rebel alliance in June, many Malians say they still face a struggle to survive.
Water Aid reports that due to a lack of access to clean water in Mali, one child in ten dies before they reach their fifth birthday.