18 January 2013

Mali: Concern Mounting Over Welfare of Civilians

Photo: WFP/Justin Smith
A group of children wait on the fringes of the distribution center. (file photo)

press release

Central and northern Mali has been in the grip of crisis since early last year. Civilians continue to suffer the effects of the hostilities, which have entered a new phase in the past week.

People are fleeing their homes in areas affected by the clashes, especially in central Mali.

"Over 550 people have fled to Sévaré from the town of Konna and the surrounding area," said Philippe Mbonyingongo, head of the ICRC sub-delegation in Mopti. "It seems that some of Konna's inhabitants have escaped to the other side of the Niger river, while others have chosen to stay put."

There is acute concern about the fate of civilians who remain in Konna and Diabali. Currently unable to access either town, the ICRC and the Mali Red Cross will try to assess the need for humanitarian aid in villages on the edge of the conflict zones.

"Our priority is to help those who've been displaced or wounded," said Jean-Nicolas Marti, head of the ICRC delegation for Mali and Niger. "We'll also be closely monitoring the welfare of the civilian population and striving to ensure that wounded and captured combatants are spared."

In central and northern Mali, the organization is working closely with the Mali Red Cross and its volunteers. The ICRC has around 100 staff in Mopti, Gao, Kidal and Tombouctou.

In neighbouring countries, the ICRC and the National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies are closely monitoring the refugee situation, especially in Mauritania, Algeria and Burkina Faso.

Since 10 January, the ICRC has also:

  • delivered medical and surgical supplies to Sévaré hospital
  • posted a surgeon and an anaesthetist to Gao hospital, furnished the facility with enough medicine and other medical supplies to treat up to 300 wounded patients, and provided the facility with electrical equipment
  • supplied Gao power station with 40,000 litres of fuel to maintain the water supply and cover people's water needs for two weeks
  • stored sufficient food stocks in Mopti for up to 10,000 families.

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