From the field - Emergency response in Northern Mali

Emergency response in Northern Mali - Family fleeing unrest in Gao - Photo courtesy of Reuters /J. Penney

Emergency response in Northern Mali - Family fleeing unrest in Gao - Photo courtesy of Reuters /J. Penney

The humanitarian situation is precarious for the population of northern Mali, with little access to food, water and medical care amidst chaos and violence.

Tens of thousands have been displaced. Many have sought refuge in neighboring Niger, Mauritania, Burkina Faso, and Algeria.

Access to areas affected by the violence by humanitarian organizations, including the ICRC, remains a major challenge due to the prevalence of banditry and the multiplicity of armed actors.

Access to health care by residents remains extremely limited. In the city of Gao for example, health structures were looted and medical personnel fled, leaving pregnant women and victims of gunshots on their own. 

The ICRC immediately dispatched fuel, medicines and health staff to the city's main hospital, which is operational again since last week. 

Alexandre Faite, deputy head of delegation at our regional office in Niamey, Niger, speaks about the ICRC's emergency response in an extremely vulnerable situation where armed violence that comes atop drought and acute food shortages.