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Mali: access to drinking water is a priority in the north

By International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)
Mali: access to drinking water is a priority in the north
Mali: access to drinking water is a priority in the north
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GENEVA, Switzerland, February 18, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- The humanitarian situation in northern Mali is still a source of concern. Displaced persons in the north-east corner of the country lack food and water. The ICRC and the Mali Red Cross are trying to meet the most pressing needs of people who have been affected by the conflict.

"The country is facing a difficult humanitarian situation", says Jean Nicholas Marti, the head of the ICRC regional delegation for Mali and Niger. "In the northern region, access to drinking water is still a big worry for recently displaced persons in Tinzawatene, close to the Algerian border and in some other towns such as Ménaka, Timbuktu or Gao".

Teams of relief workers from the ICRC and the Mali Red Cross have handed out jerrycans and water purification tablets to almost 5,400 displaced persons in Tinzawatene. They are also repairing wells in the Akharabane and Achibriche areas, which are also near to the Algerian border, where there has been an influx of displaced persons. The situation is particularly worrying because residents are having to share their meagre resources with the newcomers.

In order to keep pumping stations going, 20,000 litres of fuel were recently trucked to Gao and 3,000 litres to Ménaka, a town with a resident population of approximately 23,000.

Timbutktu received a delivery of 33,000 litres of fuel. Thanks to this support, the town now has a sufficient reserve of drinking water to supply its resident population of approximately 40,000 for the next 3 to 4 weeks.

The ICRC has thus been guaranteeing water supplies to Gao, Timbuktu and Kidal, the main towns in northern Mali, since the beginning of 2012.

Support for displaced families in Tinzawatene

The ICRC and the Mali Red Cross have supplied about 4,000 displaced persons in Tinzawatene with essential items (tarpaulins, hygiene kits, kitchen utensils, clothing, mosquito nets, etc.). About 165 tonnes of food should also be distributed to 9,000 people over the next few days.

Gao hospital: caring for the injured

The ICRC-supported hospital treated 13 people injured in the recent fighting in Gao. Last week, there were 341 consultations, 46 admissions and 12 births in this regional medical centre.

Visits to detainees in Mopti, Sévaré and Bamako

It is reported that many people have been arrested since hostilities resumed in Mali. The ICRC is pursuing its dialogue with the parties to the conflict with a view to gaining access to everyone who has been arrested or detained anywhere in Mali in relation to the fighting.

ICRC delegates have been able to visit persons detained by the Malian authorities in Mopti, Sévaré and Bamako, in order to assess their detention conditions and treatment. The ICRC discusses any possible observations and recommendations with the detaining authorities in a confidential, bilateral dialogue.