The ICRC deputy head of operations Régis Savioz announced today in the Malian capital Bamako that his organization is launching a 40 million Swiss Francs public appeal to respond to the acute humanitarian situation still prevailing in northern Mali.
The ICRC intends to distribute food to around 420,000 people, including displaced persons, host communities and other vulnerable groups.
Sporadic fighting in city centres is still deterring many people from returning to their homes (see loglist – rare footage of combatants fighting in Gao).
Says Savioz: "The Malian people have enormous needs. We've just launched a budget extension for nearly 40 million Swiss Francs, around 30 million Euros, in order to help extremely vulnerable people get food, get water, and above all, who need to have access to public services which haven't been able to function very well during the successive crisis which have affected northern Mali."
The budget extension will enable the ICRC to increase its presence in and around Kidal, Timbuktu and Gao, where living conditions remain precarious. The extension will cover basic needs such as food and clean water, as well as decent access to health services badly affected in terms of staffing levels and medical supplies. At the height of the conflict, the ICRC was able to provide basic support to health services but more is needed now.
More than 185,000 farmers will receive seeds and around 35,000 breeders should benefit from a large vaccination campaign for 2 million livestock and the distribution of 510 tons of fodder.
As well, the budget extension will help ICRC visit people deprived of their freedom in connection with the conflict.
The total ICRC budget for Mali and Niger in 2013 will amount to 75 million Swiss Francs, making this operation the second largest for the organization worldwide. In addition to the recent conflict, Mali continues to endure dramatic climatic conditions severely affecting food security and pushing communities to compete for water and grazing lands.