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01-02-2013 | Africa

Mali: Thousands of displaced want to return home


One year on, the conflict in Mali continues. The result, an unsettled life for much of the civilian population. More than two hundred and fifty thousand have been internally displaced and almost as many have become refugees in neighbouring countries, since last year. Many fled their homes with only the clothes they were wearing, leaving their lives behind.

Strong community links have eased their plight, as residents of the towns they fled to shared their meagre resources, and in many cases their homes too. Despite the generosity of the host families, food and other essentials are in short supply. "These people are in the utmost distress," said Abrao Cunga, an ICRC delegate in Mopti. "Most of them arrived without money, clothing or food, and they have no place to sleep. How to get food is one of their biggest worries. Some of them fled on motorcycles, others on donkeys, in carts or even on foot. One family of six arrived on a single motorcycle."
The situation is changing fast as the Malian Army, bolstered by foreign troops has managed to wrest control of most towns.

Some families are now beginning to return to their traditional homes. However, having fled in haste, without food, money or basic necessities, their living conditions are extremely precarious.

The task ahead is to ensure safe and secure return of displaced people to their homes. And their needs do not end there. Severe food insecurity has been worsened by lack of trade and the loss of income from remittances. Many of the homesteads have since been looted and often vandalised too. A huge task lies ahead to reconstruct the damage, provide for medical needs and access to food.

Preparations are under way to provide the displaced and the returnees with support, Both the ICRC and the Mali Red Cross continue to assess the changing situation and have assisted seven thousand returnees in Konna.

The ICRC and the Malian Red Cross have distributed food and essential supplies to the displaced in the towns of Molodo, Mariko and Nionni. The aid distribution provided each family with rice, millet, beans, salt and cooking oil, and with blankets, mosquito nets, clothing, kitchen utensils and other basic necessities. Food aid is also being provided for the host families, as their resources were scarce to begin with.

Facts & Figures

Since the conflict in Mali began in January 2012, the ICRC and the Mali Red Cross have provided food and other essentials for more than 790,000 people in the Mopti, Kidal, Gao and Timbuktu areas.


Length: 3:46
Format: Mpeg2 / 4:3 SD
Production: Nawaz Shah, Germain Mwehu, Taoffic Mohamed Toure
Camera: Abdramane Cissé
Sound: French and Bambara
ICRC ref: AV056N
Copyright: ICRC access all

Time Code Content

0:00 - 0:15 GV's of IDPs - kids, elders

0:15- Group of women waiting for supplies

O:26 Ramatou Diabaté (IDP) -sound bite - "I walked such a great distance that my feet were swollen.We arrived here without any of our belongings. No money, no clothes. We arrived here totally destitute."
0:41 Assitan Camara Diabaté (mother of Ramatou Diabate) - sound bite -"Can you imagine the distance between here and Diabaly? I was not sure if I would ever see my children again. I can only thank god for seeing them today".

0:52 Logistic centre in Mopti - exterior shot of trucks being loaded

0:58 Interior shots of warehouse and loading

1:16 Exterior shots of loading onto trucks

1:22 Truck departing with supplies

1:31 Interior shot of ICRC car crossing the River Niger

1:38 ICRC cars enroute to Molodo

1:43 ICRC trucks enroute

1:53 Relief supplies being organised for distribution - 3 shots - including wide of Red Cross official Malick

2:12 Malick Bah (Red Cross official)- sound bite -"It was a total disaster on the first day that we arrived. We have testimonies from those who fled, telling us what they had experienced. They must have been very strong to have gone through with this. "

2:27 Mayor and Red Cross Officials in discussion - 2 shots

2:41 Mayor of Molodo-_Sory Ibrahima Couriba - sound bite -"Massive amounts of people have been displaced from the commune of Diabaly to my commune. Around 500 people - children, women, wounded - who we've welcomed to Molodo".

2:55 Unloading supplies from truck

3:05 IDPs walking off with relief supplies - including Ramatou

3:15 Second sound bite from Ramatou Diabaté -"We have no choice but to return. We left everything we own behind, all our clothes, all our belongings, everything".

3:21 Mother and child sitting with their supplies

3:27-3:56 People transporting the supplies they received home on carts - 3 different shots

Duration : 3m 58s
Size : 299.4 KB
On Screen Credit: ICRC or logo

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