CARE assists Malian refugees, prepares to help people affected by conflict in the north

April 12, 2012

More than 235,000 people displaced by conflict 

Banibangou, Niger. Nearly 30,000 people have fled fighting in Mali and taken refuge in Niger, a country that is already in the grips of a severe food crisis.

Mali has experienced massive population movements since fighting erupted two weeks ago in the northern cities of Gao, Kidal, and Timbuktu. More than 107,000 people have been displaced within Mali, according to the World Food Programme, and more than 128,000 refugees have fled to other countries, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. 

CARE is gravely concerned about the humanitarian consequences of conflict in Mali. “Basic services and infrastructure have been severely disrupted, and people lack water, food and medical care,” explains Marc de Lamotte, CARE’s West Africa Regional Director. “The situation is critical, especially for those living in the open in rural areas, as they have extremely limited access to basic assistance.”

The situation for women and girls is particularly worrisome, following reports of rape and other human rights violations in Gao and Timbuktu. 

For security reasons, most organizations had to suspend operations in the northern regions and relocate their staff. These areas are still inaccessible, so tens of thousands of people remain without humanitarian assistance. CARE Mali staff is safe and is monitoring the situation to resume relief work as soon as possible.

The arrival of a large number of people could further exacerbate the precarious food security situation of host communities, which are already struggling to cope with this year’s drought and poor harvest. 

CARE is already assisting Malian refugees in Niger with basic household items and essential hygiene supplies. In Mali, CARE is about to start assisting displaced people and host families with food and basic relief items in the area of Mopti, in the center of the country, which has absorbed most of the population movements from the north. 

“CARE is preparing to extend this support as soon as possible to the people affected by conflict in Gao and Timbuktu,” says de Lamotte. CARE will also work to address the needs of survivors of gender-based violence. 

CARE has worked in Mali and Niger for more almost forty years and has extensive experience working with displaced populations.

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