Internally Displaced Numbers Fall in Mali
GENEVA, Switzerland, February 18, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- The number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) affected by the 2012 conflict in Mali has decreased, while the trend of return to the country's northern regions has increased, according to IOM's latest Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) report published today.
The number of IDPs nationwide is now estimated at 199,575, down 29.6 per cent from the 283,726 reported in October 2013.
In the south, Bamako continues to host the largest number of IDPs (46,143), followed by Koulikoro (19,101) and Segou (12,139). In the north, the largest number of IDPs is reported in Timbuktu (43,959), followed by Kidal (34,092) and Gao (29,326).
This decrease is explained by the return of people to the north, where 196,146 people have been identified as returnees in the regions of Timbuktu (90,613) and Gao (105,533). The identification of the returnees was done through an evaluation conducted in 332 villages in Gao and 390 villages in Timbutku.
An increased movement of returnees to the north was observed for the first time in September 2013 (20,777 people), mainly due to the political stabilization after the presidential elections, as well as the end of the school year.
The data also shows that the improvement of the security conditions in the north has been the main reason for return (78.4 per cent of the returnees).
The latest DTM report also provides information regarding the current needs of the displaced population. The data collected through a survey in the south concluded that of the total of households surveyed (1,523), 49 per cent are in need of financial support, whilst 26 per cent are in need of food, 9 per cent need of shelter and 16 per cent have expressed specific needs related to health and employment.
The survey also concluded that most of the IDPs surveyed (84.6 per cent) want to return to their regions of origin. Only 13 per cent of people surveyed expressed a wish to stay in their current places. Out of the total of households willing to return, 77 per cent said that they did not have enough money to pay for transport back to the north.
The same survey concluded that 51.9 per cent of the families interviewed have received some kind of assistance during the time of their displacement, while 43.7 per cent said that they had not received any assistance.
“This report provides important data on the current displaced population and confirms the trend of return to the north. The complexity of population movements in Mali underlines the need to keep monitoring displacement to enable the humanitarian community to efficiently respond to the needs of the population affected by the conflict,” said Bakary Doumbia, IOM Mali Chief of Mission.
IOM's DTM activities are carried in coordination with the Malian government and with funding from the Office of US Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA), the Government of Japan, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID) and the European Commission Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection (ECHO).