“We are very worried by what is happening in Mali and its impact on the region,” UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres told journalists.
“We need to create the right conditions to avoid this crisis becoming a threat to global security,” he added, appealing to the international community to get involved.
“If not, there’s a risk of having to manage a regional crisis and a risk to peace and security all over the world.”
Guterres also called for help dealing with Malian refugees and to stop a severe food crisis in Niger.
Mali’s March 22 military coup and the subsequent seizure of half the country by rebels have compounded the already worrying effects of a food crisis across West Africa’s Sahel region.
The UN estimates the Mali crisis has forced more than 320,000 people from their homes, with 187,000 seeking refuge in neighbouring countries, including Niger — already in the grips of a new drought that has put millions at risk of hunger.
World Food Programme chief Ertharin Cousin said her agency needs $100 million (76 million euros) by year’s end for Niger.
Just 40 percent of the funds required have been raised, she said.
The World Food Programme has launched emergency relief to feed some four million people in Niger.