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13-09-2012 | Africa

Mali: 20 Million to help those hit by conflict and food crisis

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The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has asked its donors for approximately 20 million euros(US $27 million) to help tens of thousands of people affected by conflict and food insecurity in northern Mali. This is the second time the ICRC has asked for more funds in 2012 as the humanitarian situation in the region further deteriorates.

Since early April, several armed groups control the northern half of Mali. Insecurity and sporadic clashes have greatly limited economic activity. Many are displaced within Mali and in neighbouring countries and in desperate need of aid.

YasminePraz-Dessimoz, Head of Operations for North and West Africa at the ICRC says: "The armed confrontation that started in Mali has come on top of the food crisis so the population in northern Mali is increasingly in a desperate situation. Food is not available in the market, public services are not functioning anymore, water and health care is not provided. The situation is really serious."

Many government and health workers have fled - crippling the water, sanitation and medical services. Hospitals and health centres are critically understaffed and medical supplies have been looted. Gao hospital is one of the few hospitals still functioning in northern Mali. The few staff left struggle to treat the wounded and sick pouring in from neighbouring areas.

As one of the few organisations able to access those affected, the ICRC has already undertaken a major food distribution in Gao, Timbuktu and Kidal. Yasmine Praz Dessimoz explains: "We managed to reach, with the Malian Red Cross, 160,000 people with food, and with these extra funds we would reach three times this number, to 500,000 people."

Furthermore, the ICRC could continue to improve people's access to health care. The ICRC is currently supporting and providing health-care staff in Gao hospital to treat the wounded and the chronically ill. The extra funds would allow the ICRC to increase its support to the hospital and to nine health centres in rural areas. Further medical supplies could be provided and staff who haven't received salaries for months would be paid. The ICRC would also pre-position spare medicines and materials in Bamako and Mopti and ensure that health centres are prepared for any emergencies, such as a new outbreak of cholera, which could be a disaster given the dysfunctional state of the health care.

The ICRC carries out its aid activities together with the Mali Red Cross and - in Niger, where 4% of the extra funds would be used - with the Niger Red Cross.

Extra funds would provide:

  • Food for 360,000 people in the three regions of northern Mali (Gao, Kidal and Timbuktu) and for 60,000 displaced people in Mopti
  • Seeds for the most vulnerable
  • ICRC with money to buy weak livestock from15,000 members of herder families, so they could purchase needed items. The meat from the slaughtered animals would then go to the vulnerable communities.
  • Support for health structures including Gao hospital (the main hospital in the region)
  • Fuel to ensure access to water for the urban populations of Gao, Kidal and Timbuktu (over 60'000 people)
  • Emergency aid for wounded people, displaced people and refugees in Niger
  • ICRC with more resources to visit detainees, who are sometimes held in remote locations


Shotlist for B-Roll is attached in English, Arabic, Spanish and French.

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On Screen Credit: ICRC or logo

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