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ReliefWeb - Updates

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    Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees
    Country: Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania, Niger

    Briefing Notes, 25 January 2013

    This is a summary of what was said by UNHCR spokesperson Adrian Edwards – to whom quoted text may be attributed – at the press briefing, on 25 January 2013, at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.

    UNHCR is renewing its appeal for an urgent scaling up of international aid for the hundreds of thousands of people now displaced by the war in Mali. This is to prevent a worsening of the now acutely fragile humanitarian situation across the Sahel.

    Since the start of the conflict in northern Mali a year ago, more than 150,000 refugees have fled to neighbouring Mauritania, Niger and Burkina Faso, while nearly 230,000 have sought safety in other areas inside Mali.

    In Bamako, Mali's capital, the number of internally displaced people is now estimated at close to 50,000. They are in poor neighbourhoods with little or no access to housing or vital services such as clean water, education and health.

    From people fleeing the current fighting in the north of Mali, we continue hearing worrying accounts of atrocities said to have been committed by the Al-Qaeda-linked rebels.

    A former resident of Gao, who left the town after recent air strikes, told us that food and fuel are in short supply. Armed groups have stripped the city hospital of medicines, and at the hospital dead bodies are said to be everywhere. Wounded fighters from these armed groups are being brought into the city, among the fighters many foreigners. The person we spoke to reported seeing a woman being executed summarily for refusing to show the contents of her bag to a fighter as she tried to board a bus. Amputations of hands or feet are used as punishments.

    IDP families in Bamako told UNHCR that they had been uprooted by the conflict several times, fleeing ahead of the rebel advance. They lost most or all of their belongings and left relatives behind. Fighters are not preventing people from leaving the areas they control but they check their bags thoroughly and take away any food, money or valuables.

    In neighbouring Mauritania, Burkina Faso and Niger, UNHCR is hearing similar accounts from newly-arrived refugees who we interview to determine protection and assistance needs. Children are reportedly being abducted from their families and made to fight for the rebels. Armed groups are also confiscating private vehicles – one of the reasons why refugees are traveling huge distances on foot or by donkey.

    In Burkina Faso, many of the new arrivals are ethnic Tuareg and Arab women and children. They told us they fled for fear of becoming confused with the rebels, who are said to be trying to blend in with the civilian population.

    Another reason for leaving northern Mali, according to the refugees, is the presence of bandits and militias from other ethnic groups. Food and other essentials are in short supply, with markets closed and shops empty.

    Since 11 January, when the French military intervened to help the Malian army stop an offensive by extremist fighters, over 9,000 new refugees have fled the country and been registered and assisted by UNHCR and our partners in Mauritania, Niger and Burkina Faso.

    According to UNHCR's latest registration figures, in the last 12 days (between 11 and 23 January), 5,486 Malian refugees arrived in Mauritania; 2,302 in Burkina Faso and 1,578 in Niger. They joined the 54,000 refugees in Mauritania, 50,000 in Niger, 38,800 in Burkina Faso and 1,500 in Algeria, who had fled earlier fighting. The latest arrivals bring the total number of Malian refugees in the region to over 150,000.

    Some Malians fleeing northern Mali have gone through Niger and Burkina Faso, before reaching Bamako – a three-day journey reportedly costing some 60,000 CFA francs (approximately US$120).

    There is consensus among most humanitarian organisations working in Mali that the humanitarian situation in the country was already at crisis point and deteriorating, even before the recent round of fighting.

    The countries of the Sahel region have been facing severe drought conditions for years and are among the poorest in the world. UNHCR is appealing for urgently increased assistance for these countries to help them cope with the continuing arrival of thousands of terrorised, traumatised and destitute refugees from the war in Mali, most of them women and children.

    UNHCR appealed last year for US$123.7 million for its Mali crisis operations, but has received only about 60 per cent of this amount. The most urgent needs are food, shelter, clean water, sanitation, health and education.


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    Source: IRIN
    Country: Kenya, Somalia

    DADAAB, 25 January 2013 (IRIN) - Close to 40,000 primary school children in Kenya's northeastern Dadaab refugee complex have had their education interrupted by a two-week-long teachers' strike over unpaid salaries.

    Due to funding difficulties, the African Development and Emergency Operation (ADEO), a local NGO that was responsible for primary education in Dadaab's Ifo camps, had to hand the programme over to another NGO, Islamic Relief, on 1 January. However, ADEO has not paid more than 600 teachers from 19 schools their December 2012 salaries.

    The strike has been ongoing since the school year started on 7 January.

    "I will not go to class until my little money is paid," said Ina Jama Hire, a teacher at Horsed Primary School.

    "There have been uncountable promises which were never fulfilled, and we have lost patience now. It is unfortunate that meagre incentives given to the refugee teachers are delayed for almost two months," said Abdikadir Abdille Burash, one the representatives of the teachers' association. "Although some of us attended the schools this week, we want UNHCR [the UN Refugee Agency] to immediately intervene."

    ADEO, whose problems started in November, when teachers' salaries were paid later than usual, says it is dealing with a number of issues, but paying teachers' outstanding salaries is its top priority. The organization is involved in negotiations with the teachers to ensure that the school calendar can resume on 28 January.

    Humanitarian agencies in Dadaab provide services to a population of 500,000 - in a camp built to house just 90,000 - but say they are strapped for cash. According to UNHCR, up to 60 percent of primary school-aged children in the complex are out of school; just one-third of girls between five and 13 go to school, while for those aged 14 to 17, one in 20 are enrolled.

    "The funding situation is critical. While UNHCR has the same global budget as 2012, there are a number of simultaneous global emergencies, including Syria and Mali, so the Kenya budget is smaller than last year," said Mans Nyberg, senior external relations officer at UNHCR's Dadaab sub-office.

    mh/kr/rz


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    Source: World Bank
    Country: Senegal
    1. Country and Sector Background

    Senegal is the second largest rice importer in sub- Saharan Africa, ranking tenth in the world. Rice is the main cereal consumed in Senegal, having replaced millet as the most important staple food since the 1970s. In urban households, rice accounts for 54 percent of cereal consumption and 18 percent of total household spending. In poorer rural areas, rice accounts for 24 percent of cereal consumption and as much as 25 percent of total household spending. Rice consumption in the country has drastically increased over the last decade, with per capita consumption currently estimated at 84 kg per year compared to 71 kg in 1999. In response to the 2008 food crisis in Senegal, an Additional Financing for Food Security (AFFS) in an amount of $10 million was prepared in support to increased rice production in light of high volatility of rice prices, vulnerability of country’s trade balance as well as importance of auto-consumption for marginal rice producers. The AFFS was designed as an additional financing and build on institutional arrangements of the ongoing Phase I of the Agricultural Markets and Agribusiness Program (PDMAS). Activities included: (i) the rehabilitation of irrigation perimeters in the Senegal River Valley; and (ii) the promotion of intensive rice production in the Bignona Valley. Both operations were funded under the umbrella of the Global Food Crisis Response Program with the financial support of IDA. However, the limited resources under the AFFS are not sufficient to cover major needs in the rehabilitation of rice-growing irrigation perimeters, the improvement of rice marketing conditions and the strengthening of livestock production systems.


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    Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees
    Country: Democratic Republic of the Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan (Republic of)

    BRIEFER: Melissa Fleming, Chief Spokesperson

    This is a summary of what was said by the UNHCR spokesperson at today’s Palais des Nations press briefing in Geneva.

    UNHCR has been in urgent consultations with the Government since December, when the Government of Kenya announced a directive immediately discontinuing the reception and registration of asylum-seekers in Nairobi and other urban areas and for them to all be relocated to the refugee camps.

    UNHCR expressed its serious concerns about the impact of the policy from the protection, human rights and humanitarian point of view. In particular, the lives, education and livelihood of thousands of refugees who have settled and lived lawfully in the urban centres for years would be severely disrupted. UNHCR called on the Government not to implement the new directive.

    The Government however made clear its determination to go ahead with the enforcement of the policy. UNHCR has since been working to ensure that any such implementation would be properly managed, consistent with essential refugee protection and humanitarian principles and would avoid human suffering. The Government subsequently established an Inter-Ministerial Committee establish how these principals would be assured in implementing the new policy.

    When news broke last weekend that a security operation to round up refugees in Nairobi and relocate them to the camps was imminent, UNHCR expressed its concerns to the Government and urged against such an operation being launched.

    The Government has since provided assurances that a round-up would not take place and reiterated its readiness to work with UNHCR to ensure that refugee protection principles would be respected. Meanwhile, on 22 January, in an application brought by two refugee rights NGOs, the High Court of Kenya issued an injunction temporarily halting any action to implement the relocation direction pending a full hearing on the matter.

    UNHCR is sustaining its efforts with the Government to ensure that in any implementation of the new directive, refugees and asylum-seekers would not be put in harm’s way or their vital protection and human rights transgressed as unfortunately often happens in operations of this nature and scale.

    UNHCR also hopes that the Organization’s urban refugee policy that has been supported by the Kenyan Government as the best way forward for refugees who are able to fend for themselves and participate in the development of their host communities will remain in effect. This policy underlines that cities are legitimate and critical places for refugees to reside and exercise the rights to which they are entitled.

    There are currently 56,000 asylum seekers and refugees registered with UNHCR in Nairobi and other urban centres in Kenya. The largest segment of this group is made up of Somalis (33,844) followed by Ethiopians (10,568) and nationals from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (7,046). A minority comes from Eritrea, South Sudan and the Great Lakes.

    For further information on this topic, please contact:

    In Kenya (Nairobi): Emmanuel Nyabera on mobile +254 733 995 975

    In Geneva, Fatoumata Lejeune-Kaba on mobile +41 79 249 3483


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    Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
    Country: Cameroon, Chad

    LES TITRES
    • Tchad: l'hospitalisation de dizaines d'enfants sans lien avec le vaccin contre la méningite (Romandie, 22 jan.)
    • A determined mother saves her son from the clutches of malnutrition in Chad (UNICEF, 18 Jan.)
    • Le Tchad veut inverser la tendance du VIH/sida d’ici 2015 (Xinhua, 24 jan.)
    • Chad’s health system struggles to combat malnutrition (IRIN, 24 Jan.)
    • Tchad: 336 réfugiés vivant au Cameroun regagnent N’Djamena (Xinhua, 22 jan.)
    • Tchad: Le nouveau Premier Ministre et ses priorités (Journal du Tchad, 22 jan.)
    • Le Tchad s'affirme à l'international et dans la sous-région avec des troupes au Mali (AFP, 22 jan.)


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    Source: ECOWAS
    Country: Mali

    N°: 019/2013
    24 January 2013 [ABUJA-NIGERIA]

    Members of the Committee of Chiefs of Defense Staff (CDDS) will meet in an emergency session in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire on Saturday, 26th January 2013 to appraise the status of the on-going deployment of the African-led International Support Mission to Mali (AFISMA).

    The meeting, the second in 11 days, is in response to the 19th January 2013 extra-ordinary summit of regional Heads of State and Government towards an accelerated deployment of AFISMA, within the context of the UN Security Council Resolution 2085 of December 2012.

    Others also expected at the one-day meeting include heads of police in Member States, the Special Representative of the President of the ECOWAS Commission, the Force Commander and the Chief of Staff of AFISMA.


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    Source: IRIN
    Country: Malawi

    JOHANNESBURG, 25 January 2013 (IRIN) - As fuel prices climb in Malawi, amid fuel shortages and a soaring inflation rate - prompted by a 50 percent devaluation of the currency - a new paper suggests a way to decrease the country's reliance on imported fuel: biofuels.

    Malawi is “the only African country that has consistently used liquid biofuels for transport for an extended period - since 1982”, points out the paper, which was jointly authored by economist Charles Jumbe, of the Centre for Agricultural Research and Development in Malawi, and Francis Johnson, a senior researcher at the Stockholm Environment Institute.

    Fuel shortages and rising prices recently led to protests in Malawi, one of the world's poorest countries. Malawi spends US$33 million a month importing fuel, according to a December 2012 report in Engineering News, which said the government had approved the use of ethanol as an alternative fuel for motor vehicles.

    Ethanol and vegetable oil

    Motorists in Malawi already use a blend of the conventional fossil fuel and ethanol produced from molasses - the by-product of producing sugar from sugarcane. The strategy was adopted in the 1980s to save foreign exchange.

    The country launched a five -year project to consider the option of running vehicles exclusively on ethanol in 2007.

    But Malawi has not been producing sufficient quantities of ethanol.

    The amount of ethanol being produced has dropped over the years, as it relies on a poor-quality molasses that is produced seasonally, Jumbe explained via email. The ethanol production plants are currently operating at half their capacity. This has affected the amount of ethanol being blended with the fossil fuel, forcing a greater dependency on the imported fuel.

    If the production of sugar is expanded, ethanol production could ease some of the country's foreign exchange burden, he said.

    "The high commercial value of sugar and ethanol has brought considerable socioeconomic benefits to both small farmers and estate workers [in Malawi]," notes the paper.

    "Blending of straight vegetable oil (SVO) with diesel and with paraffin is now also under way in Malawi," it says.

    The vegetable oil is locally produced by some 25,000 small farmers from the Jatropha curcas plant, which is grown in hedgerows around their farms.

    But agriculture in Malawi is in trouble, affected by increasing variability in rains and temperatures.

    Protecting forest

    The paper looks not only at Malawi's energy needs but also at the transitions taking place in its energy consumption, which is endangering the country's forests.

    Forest cover is depleting at a rapid rate, as firewood and charcoal made from wood account for 88 percent of total energy and 98 percent of household energy use. In the 1960s, more than half of Malawi’s land area was covered by forest, the paper says. The number has dropped to 34 percent, according to a 2010 UN Food and Agriculture Organization estimate.

    Jumbe and Johnson note that while rapid urbanization seems to have weaned a substantial number of Malawians off firewood, it has pushed them towards charcoal use, as electricity remains expensive and out-of bounds for most people.

    "Not all households are near the electricity grid system," said Jumbe. "Even where electricity is near households, the cost of electricity connection is very high. As such, even those with electricity in urban areas rely on firewood and charcoal for cooking. Most households use electricity mainly for lighting. The number of bicycles that trek to urban cities with bags of charcoal in the big cities of Blantyre and Lilongwe is testimony to this!"

    Malawi must consider making electricity accessible and cheaper for its people as a priority, he added.

    jk/rz


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    Source: IFRC
    Country: Mali
    preview


    Period covered by this Operations Update: 1 December 2012 to 17 January 2013.

    Appeal target (current): CHF 1,042,363

    Appeal coverage: 73 percent

    Appeal history:

    · This Emergency Appeal was initially launched on 7 June 2012 for CHF 2,537,138 to support the Mali Red Cross to assist 142,740 beneficiaries (21,960 households) until end February, 2013.
    · Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) CHF 258,538 was allocated on 5 June 2012 to support the National Society begin the operation.
    · The Emergency Appeal was revised on 18 October 2012. The budget was reduced to CHF 1,042,363 to assist 58,500 beneficiaries (9,000 households).
    · A 6 month summary update of the operation was issued on 14 January, 2013 to summarize progress in the first 6 months.
    · This Operation update announces a 1 month extension to the operation timeframe in order to complete the community garden activities. The operation will now be completed by the end of March 2013 and a Final Report will be made available by end of May 2013 (timeframe for the final report remains unchanged).

    Summary:

    Mali has been facing many crises since 2011 and during 2012 experienced a country-wide drought and food insecurity; armed rebellions in the north and a military coup d’état in March 2012.On 11 January 2013, François Hollande, the President of France announced that he had agreed to a request from the Mali government for foreign aid and that "French forces have provided support to Mali". During the past week an armed conflict led by the Malian army with support from the French army begun with probable further deployment of military contingency troops from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to regain the north from the various armed rebels.

    Except for this recent armed conflict that started on 11 January 2013, there are no operational changes since the launch of the 6 month summary update of 14 January, 2013.


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    Source: Agence France-Presse
    Country: Mali

    01/25/2013 19:42 GMT

    by Serge Daniel

    BAMAKO, Jan 25, 2013 (AFP) - French and Malian troops on Friday advanced on the key Islamist stronghold of Gao after recapturing the northern town of Hombori as the extremists bombed a strategic bridge to thwart a new front planned in the east.

    The French-led assault against the radical Islamists controlling northern Mali entered its third week with a strong push into the vast semi-arid zone amid rising humanitarian concerns for people in the area facing a dire food crisis.

    "At present, Malian and French soldiers are in Hombori. There are no longer any Islamists on the ground," said a teacher in the town which lies 920 kilometres (575 miles) north of the capital Bamako and 200 kilometres west of Gao.

    A Malian security source said the troops would press on to Gao, one of the three major northern towns along with Kidal and Timbuktu, where the Al Qaeda-linked Islamists have imposed brutal sharia for 10 months.

    The security source added that in the west, the French-led forces who had recaptured the town of Diabaly on Monday, were pushing towards the town of Lere with the aim of "taking control of Timbuktu" which lies further north.

    Gao, Timbuktu and Kidal were seized by an alliance of Tuareg rebels -- who wanted to declare independence of the north -- and hardline Islamist groups in April last year.

    The Islamists hijacked the rebellion and sidelined the Tuaregs to implement radical Islamic laws, flogging, stoning and executing transgressors, forbidding music and television and forcing women to wear veils.

    -- Mounting concerns on rights abuses --

    France swept to the aid of the weakened Malian army on January 11 as the Islamists pushed south towards the capital Bamako. They have bombarded both Gao and Timbuktu with airstrikes, sending the Islamists fleeing.

    However the insurgents remained on the offensive, blowing up a key bridge linking Gao to neighbouring Niger on Friday, where more than 2,000 Chadian soldiers and 500 troops from Niger are being deployed to open a second front against the Islamists from the east.

    "The Islamists dynamited the Tassiga bridge. No one can pass to Niger or come to Gao," said the owner of a transport business, Abdou Maiga.

    A security source from Niger confirmed the strike.

    Aid groups warned of rising food insecurity as fighting escalated in the drought-wracked Sahel.

    French aid group Action Against Hunger (ACF) raised fears "that an armed ground intervention from Niger will cut the last access route to supply basic goods (food and medicine) to people in the region," a statement said.

    There has also been increasing alarm about reports of rights abuses by Malian soldiers against ethnic Tuaregs and Arabs.

    The International Federation of Human Rights Leagues said at least 31 people had been executed in the central town of Sevare, and some bodies dumped in wells, according to local researchers.

    Medecins Sans Frontieres said it had gained access to towns retaken from Islamists like Konna in the centre, where it sent a four-member medical team.

    Meanwhile, West African defence chiefs planned to review progress on the limping deployment of their forces to Mali at an emergency meeting in Ivory Coast on Saturday.

    The Economic Community of West African States has pledged more than 4,500 soldiers to help Mali retake its Islamist-occupied north, but the deployment has been delayed by financing and logistical problems.

    Britain, which has already contributed two C-17 transport planes to airlift military equipment, sent a surveillance plane to aid operations, according to the Ministry of Defence.

    France has asked several Western countries and others to support logistics, including planes to allow aerial refuelling, sources close to Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said.

    bur-fb/ach/wat/boc

    © 1994-2013 Agence France-Presse


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    Source: Government of Italy
    Country: Burkina Faso, Italy, Mali, Mauritania, Niger

    The refugee emergency and food crisis are what most concern the European Union in Mali. The alarm was sounded by Humanitarian Aid Commissioner Kristalina Georgieva upon her return from a mission to Bamako and Burkina Faso, one month on from her last visit.

    The food crisis is the “main worry” when it comes to security in Mali, in whose northern regions it is no longer possible to farm or harvest, and whose south is burdened with the arrival of large numbers of refugees. This was the reason for Commissioner Georgieva’s appeal: “the parties involved in the crisis must ensure access to humanitarian organizations in all areas of the country”. For its part, the EU is “ready to increase” funding for humanitarian aid.

    370,000 displaced

    There are now 370,000 displaced persons, but the situation “could change” over the coming weeks causing “massive flows” as compared with what has been seen so far, Georgieva added, urging Niger and Mauritania to leave their borders open as Burkina Faso has done. Two days ago Brussels approved €20 million in funding for the Mali emergency, in addition to the already earmarked €50 million for the Sahel, of which 16 million for Burkina alone. But these figures, she underscored, are “based on optimistic estimates”, while “needs may grow and we are therefore prepared to increase the funding for Mali and neighbouring countries”.

    Italy’s contribution

    Italy has also made its contribution to resolving the Mali crisis, arranging for the dispatch of two C-130 transport planes and one 767 for en route refueling, in addition to a group of trainers (from 15 to 24) within the context of the EU training mission. The Lower House approved Italian logistical support for the Mali mission on Tuesday, in accordance with UN resolution 2085, for a period of two months, extendable to three.

    Prior to the House vote, reporting to the joint parliamentary foreign and defence committees Minister Terzi pointed out Italy’s continuing commitment to the fight against terrorism as well as to the stability of the Sahel, and that it therefore could not fail to be part of the European training mission. He stressed that the crisis would “be a long one”, and that “without African and Malian forces’ full shouldering of responsibility, it is unlikely it will end”. According to Terzi, the crisis could deteriorate into conditions “worse than those in Somalia and Afghanistan”.


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    Source: ACT Alliance
    Country: Mali

    1. Brief description of the emergency and impact

    Following a military coup d’état in Mali in March 2012, a combination of the separatist Tuareg National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) and the Islamic jihadist Ansar Dine captured all of the northern Malian regions of Tombouctou, Gao and Kidal. Large numbers of civilians fled to the Malian southern regions and to the capital, Bamako, as well as across the borders into neighbouring countries. Most organizations working on relief and development (including ACT Alliance members) had to abandon, at least temporarily, their operations in the north; later they resumed assistance in a restricted way to people that had moved southwards.
    On 11 January 2013, France launched a military intervention to assist Malian government forces to fight off the Islamist groups after they moved south and seized the town of Konna, as well as to stop their southward advance. The French have continued the air strikes, extending the campaign to Diabali, Lere, Gao and Douentza; as well as preventing their advance southward.


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    Source: Agency for Technical Cooperation and Development
    Country: Kenya

    MARALAL, Kenya [ACTED News] - Generating information on water point resources provides a critical basis for water point rehabilitation and future water supply interventions in the arid and semi-arid areas of Northern Kenya. Building on previous experience in water mapping in Samburu County and East Pokot District, ACTED, through District Water Officers, has mapped the location and current state of 304 water resources including dams, springs, boreholes, roof catchments for institutions, communal rock catchments, wells and communal stand pipes (water kiosks). ACTED is currently uploading the information onto an online interactive map which will then be shared to relevant stakeholders to inform better coordinated water resource management, planning, and programme implementation in these areas. This project is supported bu the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation.


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    Source: Catholic Relief Services
    Country: Mali

    As the crisis in Mali continues – with French, Malian and other African troops battling rebels in the country’s north – CRS continues to meet the needs of those displaced by the conflict. CRS’ Helen Blakesley is currently in Bamako, Mali’s capital, where CRS assists people with monthly cash distributions and other aid.

    What is the current situation in Bamako?

    Despite the conflict going on in the north of the country, Bamako, which lies in the southern part of Mali, remains relatively calm. People are going about their business and markets and businesses are open – though you can still feel a heightened sense of tension with all that is happening elsewhere in the country. What you don’t see immediately are the tens of thousands of people who had to flee their homes in the north and are now staying with relatives or ‘host’ families in Bamako. These people had to literally leave everything behind and travel for days to make it to safety.

    What does CRS do assist those displaced by the conflict?

    In Bamako, we’re continuing to help those who have fled with monthly cash distributions. CRS targets the most vulnerable displaced people by using certain criteria – are there more than 7 people in the family? Do they have special needs, like disabilities, illness or old age? Is it a single-parent household? Then, CRS gives each selected family the equivalent of $16 per person, per month. That doesn’t sound like much, but it’s a lifeline. That helps cover basic needs like food, health costs, school fees or rent, if they’re not staying with a host family.

    What will be the consequences of escalated fighting in the north?

    The humanitarian situation will definitely grow bigger and more urgent as the crisis goes on. More families arrive each month and now especially, we’re expecting a new influx, so CRS is doing all it can to secure more funding so that we can help more people. So far, we’re helping around 4,000 Bamako-based displaced people but that is likely to rise dramatically very soon.

    Does CRS work in other parts of the country as well?

    The recent, increased fighting involving French troops forced us to take precautions to protect our staff and assets. Before that, we assisted people in the center of the country, in the region of Mopti. We distributed food, cash, and toiletries, built latrines and kitchen sites at a camp for displaced people. We reached over 7,000 households, so around 50,000 people. At the moment we’re assessing what the needs of the new influx of people are, and working with partners to co-ordinate aid. But a cessation of hostilities, or at least access to the civilian population in the north, is absolutely necessary to carry out our work in all parts of Mali.

    For Helen’s full report, listen to the podcast.


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    Source: ICRC
    Country: Mali

    25-01-2013 Photo gallery

    Some 7,000 people have just received emergency supplies of food and other basic necessities in the towns of Niono, Kala Siguida and Mariko, in the central part of the country. The aid was distributed by the ICRC and the Mali Red Cross. Each displaced family received rice, millet, beans, salt and cooking oil, plus blankets, mosquito nets, clothing, kitchen utensils and other basic necessities. The displaced are benefiting above all from residents' willingness to help them by sharing their meagre resources and, when they can, by taking them in. The ICRC and the Mali Red Cross are also providing food to these generous host families.

    View slideshow.


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    Source: UN Children's Fund
    Country: Afghanistan, Angola, Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Chad, Colombia, Côte d'Ivoire, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Georgia, Haiti, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Myanmar, Niger, occupied Palestinian territory, Pakistan, Philippines, Somalia, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Tajikistan, World, Zimbabwe, South Sudan (Republic of)
    preview


    US$1.4 billion needed now for children in humanitarian crisis says UNICEF

    GENEVA, 25 January 2013 – UNICEF appealed today for almost US$1.4 billion to meet the immediate, life-saving needs of children in 45 countries and regions gripped by conflict, natural disasters and other complex emergencies this year. Funds raised by the annual appeal will also go towards improving disaster preparedness, and to strengthening the resilience of communities to withstand and minimize the impact of new shocks.

    “We are still in the first month of 2013, which has already proved harsh for millions of children suffering in Syria and for refugees who had to flee to neighbouring countries. Mali and the Central African Republic are also experiencing worsening conflict, threatening the lives of children and women,” said Ted Chaiban, UNICEF’s Director of the Office of Emergency Programmes. “Children are extremely vulnerable in emergencies, often living in unhealthy and unsafe conditions, at high risk of disease, violence, exploitation and neglect.”

    The Humanitarian Action for Children 2013 appeal includes countries prominent in today’s news headlines along with many other countries that receive much less media coverage, such as Chad, Colombia, Ethiopia, the Philippines, Somalia and Yemen, but which also require urgent attention and assistance.

    “The complex emergency in Syria represents one important focus of UNICEF’s global emergency response,” said Chaiban. “But we are also delivering results for children in highly challenging and largely forgotten emergencies around the world.”

    More than 85 per cent of the funding requirements are for humanitarian situations other than Syria and the related refugee crisis. The 45 countries and regions in the appeal are priorities due to the scale of the crisis, the urgency of its impact on children and women, the complexity of the response and the capacity to respond.

    Contributions to UNICEF’s 2013 requirements will allow the organization to build on its work in 2012. Some of the results achieved between January through October 2012 include:

    ■Health: 38.3 million children immunized

    ■Water, Sanitation & Hygiene: 12.4 million people provided access to safe water for drinking, cooking and bathing

    ■Education: 3 million children provided access to improved education

    ■Child Protection: 2.4 million children provided with child protection services

    ■Nutrition: 2 million children treated for severe and acute malnutrition

    ■HIV and AIDS: 1 million people provided access to testing, counseling and referral for treatment

    In 2012, large funding gaps in some countries such as Madagascar and Colombia left many needs unmet. In many countries, access, security and the capacity of partners are other major constraints to delivering humanitarian assistance.

    “Contributions to the appeal are sound investments in children and their futures,” said Chaiban. “UNICEF seeks un-earmarked resources to allow the organization to respond to consistently underfunded emergencies or where the needs are greatest, to apply innovative solutions to complex situations, and to integrate early recovery in large-scale emergencies – many of which extend across multiple countries at the same time.”

    To download the Humanitarian Action for Children 2013 Report
    Please click here: www.unicef.org/appeals

    About UNICEF
    UNICEF works in more than 190 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments. For more information about UNICEF and its work visit: www.unicef.org


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    Source: Caritas
    Country: Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, Senegal

    Appuyées par leur réseau mondial auquel le Secours Catholique appartient, quatre Caritas sahéliennes s’organisent pour apporter leur aide d’urgence aux populations touchées par la guerre au Mali.

    « Conflit sans images », « guerre à huis clos », autant d’expressions pour dire la quasi impossibilité de collecter des informations dans les zones où soldats maliens et français combattent les rebelles qui s’étaient emparés du nord du Mali l’an dernier.

    Les quelques informations qui nous parviennent indiquent le déploiement progressif des militaires français et africains et le repli simultané des groupes rebelles vers les zones montagneuses de la région de Kidal. Ce repli entraine le déplacement des populations fuyant les affrontements. La mobilité, en toute sécurité, des équipes Caritas est cruciale pour avoir accès aux populations, d’une part afin de mener à bien les évaluations de besoins et leur fournir une aide d’autre part.

    La Caritas du Mali se prépare à intervenir, car l’imminence d’un accès à certaines zones se fait sentir, au regard des appels de détresse lancés par les leaders communautaires et les autorités de ces zones. A l’instar du maire de Konna qui, ces derniers jours, lançait un appel à la télévision nationale « … il faut ouvrir la route Mopti-Konna pour permettre le ravitaillement de notre ville… Nous sommes coincés. » Dans les pays voisins, au Burkina Faso, au Niger et au Sénégal, les Caritas sont déjà mobilisées auprès des réfugiés, et se préparent à de nouveaux afflux. Les Nations unies font état de 147.000 réfugiés dans les pays voisins du Mali, dont quelque 38.000 au Burkina.

    La situation humanitaire était déjà précaire au Mali. Depuis 2011, l’insécurité alimentaire rend vulnérables des familles toujours plus nombreuses. Les femmes, les enfants, les malades et les personnes âgées déjà fragiles risquent pour leur vie si l’aide n’intervient pas de toute urgence. Avant l’intervention militaire française du 11 janvier, les chiffres officiels faisaient état de 400 000 personnes déplacées ou réfugiées. On considère à présent que le déplacement pourrait concerner 1,2 million de personnes au total.

    « J’ai le teint clair et j’ai peur »

    La Caritas Mali a commencé à recenser les besoins de personnes déplacées par le conflit et rapporte les paroles de ceux qu’elle a rencontrés. Comme Alice Dembele, déplacée à Molodo à une cinquantaine de kilomètres de Diabali où elle vivait. « Les rebelles étaient derrière notre maison, raconte-t-elle. Ils étaient en train de tirer avec des fusils ou d’autres armes lourdes. Nous étions cachés dans nos chambres, nous avions peur. A un moment, mes enfants et moi avons pu sortir pour aller de l’autre côté du pont. Nous avons passé deux jours là-bas avant que nos parents ne viennent nous chercher pour nous amener à Molodo. Nous n’avons rien emporté. Aujourd’hui, j’ai appris que notre maison avait été pillée par des bandits, des gens mal intentionnés qui profitent de ces moments pour prendre nos biens. »

    Ou encore le témoignage de Mamadou Diarra : « Il était environ 7 heures, lundi matin. J’ai entendu des coups de fusil partout. J’ai vu des rebelles assis devant chez nous. Ma femme, mes enfants et moi nous sommes cachés dans la chambre. Un peu plus tard, je suis sorti pour voir la situation. J’ai vu un rebelle mort devant ma porte et mon enfant, qui était aussi sorti pour voir ce qui se passait, a été victime d’une balle perdue. Des voisins nous ont aidés à fuir la ville. Je compte rester ici, à Molodo, pour l’instant, parce que j’ai le teint clair et j’ai peur qu’on me confonde avec les rebelles. »

    Nourriture, ustensiles de cuisine, vêtements, aides médicales : tels sont les premiers besoins recensés auprès des personnes déplacées par la Caritas Mali qui a distribué à ceux qu’elle rencontrait, lors de cette première évaluation, vivres, nattes, couvertures et vêtements.

    J.D. (avec le secrétariat national de Caritas Mali)


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    Source: MSF
    Country: Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania, Niger

    Deux semaines après le début des opérations militaires au nord Mali, MSF continue de travailler dans les régions de Mopti, Gao et Tombouctou. Hier matin, une équipe médicale de MSF a pu se rendre à Konna, une ville située dans la zone charnière de contact entre Nord et Sud du pays. Près de 6 000 nouveaux réfugiés ont été enregistrés en Mauritanie, au Niger et au Burkina Faso.

    Accès à Konna. Partie hier matin de Mopti, une équipe médicale MSF composée de quatre personnes, 2 médecins et 2 infirmiers, a pu se rendre dans la localité de Konna, dans le centre du pays. Depuis plusieurs jours, MSF demandait l’accès à cette ville, sans succès.

    L’équipe est en train d’évaluer les besoins médicaux et humanitaires de la zone, et s’est rendue au centre de santé de Konna. Dans la ville, les structures de soins étaient désertées, tant par le personnel médical que par les patients. Dès leur arrivée, l’équipe a commencé à dispenser des consultations de soins de santé primaires et organiser des cliniques mobiles pour répondre aux besoins de santé des populations. Dans les jours à venir, MSF pourra être en mesure de soutenir le centre de santé de Konna.

    Plus au Nord, à Douentza, MSF continue ses activités à l’hôpital de la ville. Au moment des bombardements, le personnel médical est resté dans l’hôpital jour et nuit. Environ 450 consultations ont pu être dispensées au cours de la semaine dernière. Aujourd’hui, la priorité est de renforcer les activités, notamment en prenant en charge d’éventuels blessés ainsi que d’autres patients nécessitant une intervention chirurgicale, comme les césariennes. MSF espère ainsi pouvoir rejoindre au plus vite la ville de Douentza dont l'accès n’est toujours pas possible et ravitailler ainsi son équipe présente sur place.

    Un hôpital fonctionnel à Tombouctou. Les activités médicales continuent de fonctionner, notamment en pédiatrie, en maternité, au niveau des urgences et de la chirurgie. Au cours des dix derniers jours, MSF a reçu une trentaine de blessés à l’hôpital de Tombouctou. Dans cette région, la priorité est de pouvoir renforcer les possibilités d’hospitalisation, et de se préparer à la prise en charge de tout type de violence. Du matériel médical et des médicaments ont également été acheminés dans les centres de santé soutenus par MSF et situés dans la région de Tombouctou.

    Présent dans cette zone depuis plus de dix mois, MSF maintient un volume d’activité important, même si la fréquentation des structures médicales a baissé au cours des derniers jours. Au cours de l’année 2012, MSF a pu dispenser 50 000 consultations, dont environ un tiers pour des cas de paludisme, effectuer 1 600 hospitalisations et plus de 400 actes chirurgicaux.

    Activités en cours à Gao. MSF est présent dans trois centres de santé dans et autour de Gao, plus précisément dans les localités de Wabaria, Chabaria et Sossokoria. Dans chaque centre, les équipes médicales dispensent environ 60 à 65 consultations par jour, un volume d’activités qui s’est jusqu’à présent maintenu malgré l’intensification du conflit. Avec les bombardements, MSF a stoppé momentanément son activité de clinique mobile visant à faciliter l’accès aux soins des populations.

    Plus au sud, à Ansongo, MSF est présent à l’hôpital et assure des soins primaires et secondaires. La priorité des équipes dans cette région est de pouvoir renforcer les activités de chirurgie pour être prêt en cas d’afflux de blessés, et sécuriser l’acheminement en matériel et médicaments.

    Inquiétudes pour les populations déplacées. A l’intérieur du Mali, l’insécurité, les difficultés de mouvement et de communication compliquent l’évaluation du nombre de personnes déplacées et l’évaluation de leur état de santé.

    En dehors des frontières du pays, plus de 6000 personnes ont fui depuis le 11 janvier dernier pour se réfugier notamment en Mauritanie et au Niger. Ces nouveaux déplacés viennent s’ajouter aux quelques 340 000 personnes déjà déplacées ou réfugiées recensées par les Nations Unies depuis un an.

    Au Mali, les équipes de MSF travaillent dans les régions de Mopti, Gao et Tombouctou, ainsi que dans le sud du pays avec des activités nutritionnelles menées dans la région de Sikasso, et auprès des Maliens réfugiés dans les pays limitrophes, au Burkina Faso, en Mauritanie et au Niger.


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    Source: Stimson Center
    Country: Mali

    The last few weeks have seen a flurry of new developments in the crisis in Mali. While many stakeholders focus on the immediate objective of neutralizing Islamist militants' ability to control Mali and destabilize the region, the international community must also turn its attention to an eventual transition to peacebuilding.

    In early January, an alliance of Islamist militants in control of northern Mali advanced south and captured the strategically important town of Konna. In response to a request from the Malian government, France launched military air strikes and ground operations to repel the insurgents. This unanticipated turn of events led to the sudden deployment of AFISMA, a UN-mandated, African-led force consisting of troops provided by the African Union (AU) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), which had previously been scheduled to deploy around September of this year. For now, French air power has halted the Islamist advance and forced the rebels to retreat.

    Assuming that all goes well and AFISMA achieves its objectives of recovering the insurgent-occupied regions in the north and stabilizing the country, the mission will need to transition from warfighting to peacekeeping and peacebuilding activities. Neither the Malian government nor AFISMA has the capacity to conduct peacekeeping or peacebuilding on its own, so those efforts will likely fall to the UN. Handovers from regional organization-led warfighting operations to UN-led peace operations have traditionally been difficult and poorly managed due in part to short-term thinking and narrow planning windows. A UN peace operation may be as many as three or four years into the future, but there are several steps that the UN and other international partners could take now to prepare for transition.

    As a first step, the UN could begin to conduct joint fact-finding missions and threat assessments with AFISMA. While joint assessments are usually carried out just prior to the transition from a military operation to a peace operation, there are benefits to starting the process earlier. Joint assessments would provide a platform for developing common planning processes between the UN and AFISMA, which could foster effective working relationships important to transition. They could also allow the UN to begin scenario planning now for a future peace operation in Mali, rather than scrambling to gather information shortly before their deployment.

    Moreover, UN agencies could provide the humanitarian and development personnel that the AU and ECOWAS lack in order to produce more comprehensive integrated assessments on such issues as food security, protection of civilians concerns and access to justice. Such issues may not seem immediately vital to a warfighting operation but would be important for peacekeeping and peacebuilding activities.

    The UN and other international partners could also play an important role in improving the discipline and accountability of AFISMA fighters. ECOWAS in particular earned a poor reputation in past operations. During interventions in Liberia and Sierra Leone in the 1990s, ECOWAS forces were accused of serious abuses of human rights and international humanitarian law (IHL). Similar behavior from AFISMA would not only cause immediate harm to civilians, but could damage the credibility and legitimacy of AFISMA as well as any follow-on UN peace operation.

    The EU mission slated to arrive in Mali in February is expected to provide much needed military training and advice on command and control, logistics, and human resources for the Malian armed forces, a measure that could enhance discipline and professionalism and therefore prevent abuses. In addition, the EU mission will provide training on IHL, human rights, and the protection of civilians. These are welcome steps as Malian forces have already been accused of abuses including torture and summary executions. The EU or other international partners could provide similar training for AFISMA.

    Most importantly, to complement the training, the UN could make sure that IHL, human rights, and protection of civilians principles are followed on the ground by deploying UN monitors alongside troops from AFISMA and the Malian army. Their oversight and ability to report back to the mission, and from there to the government, major donors, and the Security Council about human rights or IHL violations could provide a strong incentive for AFISMA and Malian troops to maintain appropriate behavior.

    Moreover, the UN could advise both Mali and AFISMA to think about accountability with respect to any military alliances they may forge.1 Tuareg separatists have announced that they are willing to ally with the Malian government to fight against AQIM; if Mali is considering forming this alliance, it should think now about what accountability measures should be in place for its Tuareg allies. Failure to think through this issue has created serious problems in the past - for example in 1992, during its intervention in Liberia, ECOWAS forces allied with two rebel groups that committed serious human rights abuses. The alliance called into question ECOWAS's motivations and legitimacy, and may have seriously hindered conflict resolution in the longer term.

    Finally, the accelerated deployment of AFISMA will likely accelerate the need for UN and bilateral partners' logistical support. In a letter to the Security Council on 22 January, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warned the Security Council against approving UN logistical support for combat phases of operations in Mali, citing concerns that the provision of logistics support to military forces engaged in an offensive operation could negatively affect the safety of UN civilian staff working in the region.2

    Even if the UN does not provide logistical support during this phase of the operation, it should start planning now for the kind of support it will offer as soon as ground conditions allow for a peacekeeping or peacebuilding operation.3 In addition to a logistics funding package, the UN could consider the viability of an office based in Mali to assist with the administration of the funds provided. It may want to look to its field support office in Somalia, UNSOA, which administers the UN's logistical support package to AMISOM, the African Union mission in Somalia, to identify good practices and relevant lessons.

    Many of the actions that the UN could take now with regard to joint assessments, accountability and logistics support could have immediate benefits for AFISMA but could also better position the UN to take over ground operations when it transitions to peacekeeping and peacebuilding. Historically, handovers from regional interventions to UN peace operations have been marked by serious complications and sometimes failures. The UN must act now to avoid repeating mistakes in Mali, where stability is a linchpin to regional security.

    1 Given that AFISMA was authorized by the UN Security Council, the UN could also assist AFISMA in the implementation of the UN human rights due diligence policy which aspires to mainstream human rights in the work of all United Nations actors supporting non United Nations security entities.

    2 This concern is not entirely unfounded; in Somalia, the United Nations Development Program headquarters were attacked in 2008, some argue because of UNDP's support for the Somali police. The UN political office and the UNSOA field support office in Mogadishu have not been the target of attacks, despite the fact that they support the Somali government and AMISOM respectively, both of which are engaged in warfighting.

    3 UN peacekeeping operations require the consent of the main parties to a conflict, meaning that the parties are committed to engaging in a political dialogue as part of a peace process and that they accept the presence of the peacekeeping operation to assist with that process. The signing of a peace agreement or ceasefire agreement, though not strictly necessary, is considered an important indicator of the parties' commitment to a political process.


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    Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees
    Country: Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania, Niger

    BAMAKO, Mali, 25 janvier (HCR)– Le HCR a renouvelé vendredi son appel à la communauté internationale pour une aide au bénéfice de centaines de milliers de civils maliens déracinés, en prévenant que l'augmentation de l'aide était vitale pour prévenir une dégradation de la situation humanitaire à travers la région du Sahel.

    Depuis le début du conflit dans le nord du Mali il y a un an, plus de 150 000 réfugiés ont fui vers les pays voisins, la Mauritanie, le Niger et le Burkina Faso. Par ailleurs, près de 230 000 personnes déplacées ont trouvé refuge à l'intérieur même du Mali. A Bamako, la capitale du Mali, le nombre des personnes déplacées internes est désormais estimé à près de 50 000. La plupart vivent dans des quartiers démunis avec peu ou pas d'accès à l'hébergement ou aux services essentiels comme l'eau potable, l'éducation et les soins de santé.

    Les personnes qui ont fui la poursuite des combats entre les forces gouvernementales appuyées par la France et les rebelles dans le nord du Mali font des compte-rendus alarmants sur les atrocités commises par les rebelles. Un ancien habitant de Gao, qui a quitté cette ville du nord après les récentes frappes aériennes, a fait part au HCR des pénuries de nourriture et d'essence.

    « La situation est difficile à Gao. Les rebelles ont pris tous les médicaments à l'hôpital de Gao. J'ai vu des corps sans vie partout, dans la cour de l'hôpital », a indiqué Agesha, qui a fui la ville dimanche dernier. Elle a voyagé durant trois jours pour rejoindre Bamako, la capitale du Mali, via le Niger et le Burkina Faso. « Ils conduisent des combattants blessés depuis la zone de combats de Konna. Beaucoup d'étrangers, de diverses nationalités », a-t-elle expliqué.

    Cette jeune femme de 18 ans a indiqué avoir vu de ses propres yeux une femme se faire exécuter par un combattant rebelle pour avoir refusé de montrer le contenu de son sac en montant dans un bus. « Un autre rebelle est arrivé, il a pointé un revolver sur sa tête et il a tiré. J'ai également vu des personnes se faire amputer d'une main ou d'un pied, comme punition pour avoir prétendument volé des biens », a expliqué Agesha.

    Les familles déplacées à Bamako ont indiqué au HCR avoir été déracinées plusieurs fois par le conflit, fuyant toujours plus loin chacune des avancées des rebelles. Elles ont perdu pratiquement tous leurs biens et ils ont dû laisser des proches derrière elles. Les combattants ne préviennent pas les populations de quitter les zones qu'ils contrôlent mais ils vérifient leurs sacs de manière approfondie et ils prennent toute la nourriture, l'argent et les objets de valeur.

    Dans les pays voisins, en Mauritanie, au Burkina Faso et au Niger, le HCR entend des témoignages similaires de la part de réfugiés nouvellement arrivés avec qui des employés du HCR se sont entretenus pour déterminer leurs besoins en matière de protection et d'assistance. Des enfants auraient été enlevés à leur famille et formés au combat par les rebelles. Des groupes armés confisquent également des véhicules privés – l'une des raisons pour lesquelles les réfugiés voyagent sur de longues distances à pied ou à dos d'âne.

    Au Burkina Faso, beaucoup des nouveaux arrivants sont des femmes et des enfants touaregs ou arabes. Beaucoup ont indiqué avoir fui car ils avaient peur qu'on les prenne pour des rebelles qui se fondent dans la population. Une autre raison pour quitter le nord du Mali pour les réfugiés, c'était la présence de bandits et de milices parmi les autres groupes ethniques. Il y a des pénuries de nourriture et d'autres articles de première nécessité, car les marchés sont fermés et les magasins sont vides.

    Certaines des personnes questionnées dans la capitale du Mali ont indiqué avoir été déplacées plusieurs fois. Salif, âgé de 20 ans, a fui depuis Tombouctou en avril dernier avec ses parents, cinq frères et sœurs et deux cousins. Il a indiqué qu'il était difficile d'aller à l'école après que les rebelles aient pris la ville.

    « Les rebelles ne voulaient pas de certains enseignements comme la physique, la biologie ou la philosophie. Ils disaient que ces matières étaient subversives. Toutes les autres classes devaient être assurées en arabe, plus de cours en français », a-t-il expliqué, ajoutant que de nombreuses écoles ont alors fermé et que les enseignants ont quitté la ville.

    Lui et sa famille ont fui vers la ville de Mopti et ils ont loué une maison. Mais ils ont décidé de partir à nouveau après des rumeurs sur une attaque imminente. Ils ont trouvé refuge 20 kilomètres plus loin, à Sévaré. Après que les combats aient éclaté à nouveau en début de mois, Salif a expliqué, « beaucoup de soldats blessés ont été évacués vers l'hôpital de Sévaré. » Craignant que les rebelles n'arrivent à Sévaré, Salif et sa famille ont fui de nouveau, cette fois vers Bamako. « Une cousine nous a aidés à trouver un appartement dans la capitale. Elle nous aide à payer le loyer maintenant, mais pour combien de temps encore ? » s'est-il demandé.

    Depuis le 11 janvier, lors de l'intervention de l'armée française pour aider l'armée malienne à stopper l'offensive des combattants extrémistes, plus de 9 000 nouveaux réfugiés ont fui le pays. Ils ont été enregistrés et assistés par le HCR ainsi que ses partenaires en Mauritanie, au Niger et au Burkina Faso.

    Selon les toutes dernières statistiques du HCR, depuis le 11 janvier, un total de 5 486 réfugiés maliens sont arrivés en Mauritanie, 2 302 au Burkina Faso et 1 578 au Niger. Ils ont rejoint les 54 000 réfugiés qui se trouvaient déjà en Mauritanie, 50 000 au Niger, 38 800 au Burkina Faso et 1 500 en Algérie, qui avaient fui de précédents combats. Certains Maliens fuyant le nord du Mali sont, comme Agesha, passés par le Niger et le Burkina Faso avant d'arriver à Bamako – un coûteux voyage de trois jours pour un prix équivalent à environ 120 dollars.

    Il y a un consensus parmi la plupart des organisations humanitaires travaillant au Mali selon lequel la situation humanitaire dans le pays avait déjà atteint un stade critique et une détérioration, et ce avant même la récente série des combats.

    Les pays de la région du Sahel – parmi les plus pauvres du monde – sont confrontés à une grave sécheresse depuis des années. Le HCR lance un appel pour apporter une assistance d'urgence accrue à ces pays afin de les aider à faire face à l'arrivée continue de milliers de réfugiés terrorisés, traumatisés et démunis après qu'ils aient fui la guerre au Mali, en majorité des femmes et des enfants.

    Le HCR a publié un appel de fonds l'an dernier pour un montant de 123,7 millions de dollars pour ses opérations face à la crise au Mali, mais n'a reçu que 60% des contributions nécessaires. Les besoins les plus urgents concernent la nourriture, le logement, l'eau potable, l'assainissement, les soins de santé et l'éducation.

    Par Hélène Caux et William Spindler à Bamako, Mali


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    Source: UN News Service
    Country: Mali

    25 January 2013 – The ongoing crisis in Mali is having far-reaching effects in West Africa and the Sahel, a United Nations envoy said today, stressing that the situation there illustrated the fragility of the region.

    “As developments unfold in Mali, the risks for infiltration and destabilization are real in some of the countries bordering Mali, as illustrated by the efforts of neighbouring countries to tighten security along the borders,” the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for West Africa, Said Djinnit, told the Security Council in a briefing today.

    Mr. Djinnit, who heads the UN Office for West Africa (UNOWA), said the situation in Mali has heightened the overall terrorism threat in the subregion, adding that the international community must remain mindful of the limitations faced by Mali’s neighbours, and enhance support in the areas of border control and counter-terrorism, among others.

    Fighting between Government forces and Tuareg rebels broke out in northern Mali last January, after which radical Islamists seized control of the area. The renewed clashes in the north, as well as the proliferation of armed groups in the region, drought and political instability in the wake of a military coup d'état in March have uprooted hundreds of thousands of civilians.

    According to the latest estimates by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), more than 150,000 people have fled to neighbouring Mauritania, Niger and Burkina Faso, while an additional 230,000 have been internally displaced.

    The conflict has strained resources and worsened the humanitarian situation in the Sahel, which was already precarious due to years of drought, piracy, and transnational organized crime. It also prompted the Malian Government to request military assistance from France to stop the progression of extremist groups.

    In addition, the Council last month authorized the deployment of an African-led International Support Mission in Mali, known as AFISMA, for an initial period of one year to assist the authorities in recovering rebel-held regions in the north and restoring the unity of the country.

    Mr. Djinnit, who in recent months has travelled to Mali, Burkina Faso, Nigeria and Côte d’Ivoire supporting mediation efforts by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), stressed that the international community must simultaneously support both the political and military tracks to ensure a successful transition process.

    “It will also be necessary to eventually pursue a broad reconciliation process that strengthens the foundations for national cohesion in Mali,” Mr. Djinnit said. “The recently deployed UN Team in Bamako will be fully available to support this process, and I will personally continue to support these efforts.”

    He also noted that beyond the crises in Mali and the Sahel, the region continues to be threatened by piracy and armed robbery at sea in the Gulf of Guinea, disrupting maritime trade roots and economic progress in the region. Tensions along the borders between Liberia and Côte d’Ivoire, and transnational organized crime in Guinea-Bissau and Mali are also a source of concern.

    UNOWA is engaging with governments as well as civil society organizations in the region and other partners to address these issues, Mr. Djinnit said, welcoming the progress made so far.

    “The situation in West Africa remains at a crossroads. On the one hand, the leaders of the region have made significant progress towards the promotion and consolidation of peace, and are taking decisive efforts to address the pressing challenges to peace and security in the region,” he stated.

    “On the other hand, the situation in Mali and in the Sahel, combined with other cross-cutting threats in the region, including drug trafficking and piracy, has the potential to undermine security in West Africa, while the root causes of instability in the region are yet to be fully addressed,” he added.

    The envoy stressed that continued attention and support of the international community, in particular the Security Council, to ECOWAS leaders and countries remains essential towards lasting peace, stability and development.


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