News / Africa

UN Says Humanitarian Aid Flowing in Northern Mali

Men transport food aid intended for recently liberated portions of the country, near Sevare, Mali, Feb. 4, 2013.
Men transport food aid intended for recently liberated portions of the country, near Sevare, Mali, Feb. 4, 2013.
Lisa Schlein
The United Nations Regional Humanitarian Coordinator for the Sahel, David Gressly, says humanitarian aid has been moving very quickly in northern Mali since the French military rout of Islamic rebels that began January 11.
 
According to Gressly, some 30,000 people have been displaced by the current intervention and most have fled as refugees into neighboring Mauritania. He says the situation has calmed down in the north and aid agencies now have access into central Mali, where the U.N is preparing to use the city of Mopti as a logistical base.
 
Gressly says the World Food Program started moving food into the north two days ago, and other supplies also are being sent north to Timbuktu.
 
“We’re concerned about the population in the north at this point because they have been cut off. We did not stockpile huge amounts of supplies in the north prior to this, partly because of fears of pillaging and so forth," he said. "It is important that we get early access to northern Mali. There are approximately 5,000,000 people in northern Mali that are food insecure that need this assistance, so we are working now to make that a reality.”
 
Besides humanitarian assistance, Gressly says protection of civilians is of great concern. He refers to allegations of human rights abuses against civilians in the north by the rebels and also reportedly by Malian security forces. He says human rights monitors must be put on the ground quickly so they can check on the validity of these allegations.
 
Gressly says the crisis in northern Mali is compounded by a broad, chronic crisis throughout the country and across the Sahel region of western and central Africa. He says the United Nations projects that 10 million people across the Sahel will be short of food this year, including two million in Mali. In addition, he says, about one million children are expected to be malnourished, with 200,000 cases of acute malnutrition in Mali alone.
 
Gressly says a political solution that makes all residents feel part of a common Malian state is necessary to avoid a repeat of the humanitarian crisis.
 
“It is important that all citizens feel that they have equal part in that Malian state if that territorial integrity is not to be challenged again," he said. "Secondly, the fact that we have such high rates of malnutrition and food insecurity indicates a development problem in the country. This is not exclusively or even primarily in the north. It effects probably the south. Eighty percent of those needs are actually in the south. So, there is a need for an equitable development approach that deals with these underlying problems in a systematic way - north and south - if we are to see our way out of the repeated crisis that we see in Mali.”
 
Gressly says he is not predicting that the situation in northern Mali will get worse, but that the humanitarian community must be prepared for further attacks in the north and future difficulties in delivering aid.
 
He says everyone will have to wait and see how things evolve and be prepared to adapt to new realities as situations change.

You May Like

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor warns of obesity’s worldwide health impact More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam Wari
X
Katherine Gypson
May 25, 2015 1:32 AM
For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.

VOA Blogs