New York - A spike in violence in the northern Mali region of Kidal has forced 17 400 people from their homes, undermining limited progress in stability, the UN humanitarian operations director said Thursday.
In total, 135 000 Malians have fled to neighbouring countries and 151 000 are displaced within the country, said John Ging in New York following a recent three-day visit to the country.
Those figures are lower than at the height of the crisis in June 2013, but Ging said the latest round of violence "undermines" earlier confidence about people returning home.
Kidal saw a resurgence of fighting in mid-May between Malian government forces and armed groups, mostly made up of Tuareg rebels but also featuring Arab fighters.
"Until there is a political breakthrough, the humanitarian situation will continue to deteriorate," Ging said.
The humanitarian crisis was suffering from a lack of funds, with just under a quarter of the asked-for $568m, and with education, water and sanitation the most poorly funded, Ging said.
"The situation is extremely fragile but that situation can be stabilised, it is bleak not hopeless," he added.
Around 1.5 million Malians need food aid, including 500 000 children under five at risk of malnutrition, the UN says.