Peter Maurer, President of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), is currently visiting Niger and Mali assessing humanitarian needs. During an ICRC food distribution to around 580 displaced families in Niamey (Niger), the ICRC President met people exhausted and weakened by successive food shortages and the fighting in northern Mali. Zeine Koutam and his family of seven have been in a migrant centre for six months. Koutam told Mr Maurer: "While there is no stability, I cannot return home."
MaimounaSamake is a mother who fled Gao in Northern Mali and sought refuge in Niamey: "What brought us here is the conflict that erupted in our region. We came here needing help. People here have welcomed us and offered us shelter. We need more help. Our children have nothing."
Following an additional 20 million euros funding in September, the ICRC has begun its plan to help 420,000 people by the end of the year with food distributions. This will be done in collaboration with the Niger Red Cross. The ICRC will also provide medicine and other essential items to Gao hospital (Mali), as well as for community health-care facilities throughout the north of Mali.
The ICRC president said the aim of his visit was: "to take stock of the ICRC operations in the region, to have a better view of the evolving needs given the military and political situation which comes on top of dire food and nutrition crises."
During the ICRC President's visit, he is meeting with senior government officials in both Mali and Niger. With military intervention likely, the ICRC reminds all parties to the conflict of the need to respect International Humanitarian Law and the civilian population at all times.
Facts & Figures
By the end of 2012, the ICRC will have:
Location: Niamey, Niger
Format: Mpeg2 / 16:9 anamorphic
Production: Sebastien Carliez/Nicola Fell
Camera: Jón Björgvinsson
Sound: English, Zarma & French
ICRC ref: AV042N
Date: 22 October 2012
Copyright: ICRC access all
0:00 ICRC and Niger Red Cross food distribution of food (rice and oil) to around 580 families who fled the conflict in Northern Mali.
0:45 SOUNDBITE Zeine Koutam, refugee, (in French)
"Nous sommes sept. Tant qu'il n'y a pas de stabilité, je ne peux pas rentrer."
"We are seven (people). While there is no stability, I cannot return (home)."
1:00 SOUNDBITE ICRC President, Peter Maurer (in English):
"The objective of the mission is to take stock of the ICRC operations in the region, to have a better view on the needs that are evolving given the military and political situation which comes on top of dire food an nutrition crises that we've observed in the past. The objective is to call on donor to engage more for the population in the Sahel region and to support ICRC's operations in order to be able to cope with the emerging crisis."
1:42 SOUNDBITE Maimouna Samake, refugee (in Zarma):
"What brought us here is the conflict that erupted in our region. We came here needing help. People here have welcomed us and offered shelter and other types of aid. We need more help. Our children have nothing. There's no school to go to."
2:09 Jules Amoti, Economic and Security Coordinator, ICRC (in French):
"Aujourd'hui nous assistons les populations qui sont venues du Mali à Niamey. Il s'agit de 579 ménages, soit plus de 4 000 personnes, qui vivent dans des conditions difficiles à Niamey et n'ont pas la capacité de répondre à leurs besoins alimentaires immédiats. Le CICR vient les assister."
"Today, we are assisting people who came from Northern Mali to Niamey. There are 579 households, more than 4,000 people, who live in difficult conditions in Niamey and cannot meet their immediate, basic food needs. So the ICRC is here to assist them".
2:30 Beneficiaries leaving Red Cross Niamey distribution site with food bags.
2:43 President Maurer with colleagues boarding ICRC plane
2:50 President Maurer inside ICRC plane.
2:55 Street views of Niamey through ICRC vehicles windscreens.
3:05 ICRC vehicles enter Niger Prime Minister's compound in Niamey.
3:09 President Maurer greets Brigi Rafini, Prime Minister of Niger, in his office.
3:16 Peter Maurer and Brigi Rafini discussing humanitarian situation and ICRC's response.