WHD 2013

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Les déplacés du Nord du Mali se retrouvent dans des conditions précaires à Ségou

Par Ulrike Dassler, Chargée de l'Information Publique 


Les déplacés du nord de Mali vivent dans des conditions très précaires à Ségou dans le sud du pays. La ville a vu sa population augmenter de 36 000 personnes, dont 11 000 enfants, suite aux déplacements déclenchés par l’arrivée des groupes armés islamistes au nord il y a un an de cela. Les affrontements  entre les groupes islamistes et l’armée gouvernementale et les forces françaises au début de 2013 ont créé une deuxième vague de déplacement.
Malgré l’aide humanitaires fournie par les ONGs, les déplacés à Ségou peinent aujourd’hui  à trouver les moyens de  survivre et d’assurer la scolarisation de leurs enfants.
Mariam a toujours peur de rentrer à Kidal
Mariam, une mère de huit enfants, est l’une des déplacées du Nord. Deux semaines après que les islamistes d'Ansar Dine aient occupé la ville de Kidal en avril 2012,  Mariam a réussi à s'échapper. Par chance, elle est arrivée à Ségou, près de 1000 km au sud, au bord du fleuve Niger. Dans un premier temps, elle est restée avec  des parents qui ont généreusement partagé leur appartement et repas avec elle et ses enfants. Mais après quelques mois, la maison s’est rapidement remplie avec l’arrivée d’autres femmes Touareg déplacées et Mariam a dû se résoudre à trouver un autre toit. Elle loue maintenant une petite maison pour 20 dollars par mois, ce qui représente une somme importante puisqu’elle n’a aucune source de revenu.
« Nous n’arrivons pas toujours à payer le loyer. Aujourd’hui nous avons trois mois de retard, mais le propriétaire est gentil avec nous, il sait que nous n'avons rien », explique Mariam. Chaque jour, Mariam espère  pouvoir retourner dans sa maison à Kidal, à la frontière de l'Algérie, avec ses enfants.
Les déplacés dorment en général à plusieurs dans une pièce de 5 m2
Les ONGs nationales et internationales distribuent du riz, de la farine et de l'huile et de nombreux dons privés des commerçants de Ségou arrivent tous les jour, mais malgré tout celà il n’y a pas assez de vivres pour tous les déplacés à Ségou. Une famille, comportant majoritairement des femmes et des enfants, est habituellement composée  de 10 à 20 personnes alors que l’assistance alimentaire du Programme Alimentaire Mondial  à Ségou est calculée  sur la base de rations pour cinq personnes seulement.
L’éducation pose également un problème pour Mariam. Même si ses cadets ont la possibilité de poursuivre leur scolarité avec l’école primaire à proximité, les deux aînés ont dû arrêter l’école, le lycée étant maintenant trop éloigné et le transport trop coûteux.
Pour plus d'informations visitez http://www.unocha.org/mali/

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Malian Children in Exile: Mohammed, The Guitarist

By Plan

A story about Mohammed, a refugee from Timbuktu, who was forced to leave his home and guitar behind due to the conflict in Mali. Learn more about how Plan is helping Malian children in exile by visiting www.plan-international.org/maliconflict

For more go to  http://plan-international.org/

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Monday, March 25, 2013

Chad - When it Rains, it Pours

by Pierre Péron, Public Information Officer for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)

There is an expression that you will hear throughout Africa: “l’eau, c’est la vie.” Water is life. Nowhere is this more evident than in the Sahel, the strip of semi-arid land stretching East to West across the continent, marking the boundary between the Saharan desert and the rain forests of Equatorial Africa.

People in the Sahel are tough, but 2012 is proving to be an exceptionally bad year and the resilience of communities is being sorely tested. More than 18 million people in the Sahel are affected by a major food security and nutrition crisis this year, 3.6 million of them in Chad. Even though the humanitarian community rang the alarm bell early and thousands of tons of food aid have been distributed by the World Food Program, malnutrition rates have soared: UNICEF and partners in Chad have treated more than 100,000 children for severe acute malnutrition since the beginning of the year.
There are many reasons for this dreadful situation, but a major factor is that the Sahel region suffered yet another drought last year, the third in a decade. The crop yields were abysmal and people delved into their last reserves of food. These repeated shocks to the system have had a devastating impact on the ability of communities to survive. The rainy months between July and October have been the most difficult, known as the “lean months” or the “hunger season” preceding the next crop harvest. This year the rains started early and are finishing late, initially raising expectations of a better crop yield this time around.

However, the irony is that the rains bring their own problems. This year has seen the worst floods in living memory, with vast areas of the south of the country under water. More than 470,000 people have been affected, 94,000 houses have been damaged, and 34 people drowned. Just as worrying, many crops were damaged with more than 255,000 hectares of agricultural fields flooded. The bad roads and swollen rivers that criss-cross the country make it very difficult to reach these areas, so we are still not sure what will be the impact on the up-coming harvest. In the mean-time, OCHA and humanitarian partners are mobilizing to assist the most affected communities with water, sanitation, and other immediate needs.

The village of Ham in the Mayo Kebbi region. ©OCHA

And while there may be water all over the place right now, not much of it is clean. The lack of sanitation and the unavailability of clean water make perfect conditions for cholera, which killed more than 400 people last year in Chad. So far in 2012, there hasn’t been any cholera, but NGOs, the World Health Organisation, and the government are all prepared for it. Action plans are set and contingency stocks are in place. The humanitarian community is ready to respond to an outbreak to save lives, but since the water and sanitation budget for Chad is only 17% funded, we can hardly say that all is being done to prevent cholera from striking again.

People set up shelters on higher ground in Koukou, Sila Region. ©OCHA

With water, also comes mosquitoes and malaria. Médécins Sans Frontières reported that the heavy rains this year brought forward the expected seasonal increase in malaria cases. For children, malaria and malnutrition are a lethal combination. Droughts, cholera, and floods- as if Chad’s problems were biblical enough, the heavy rains have created perfect breeding conditions for swarms of locusts that could mature just in time to attack the crops before the harvest.

So right now, when Chad is at its hungriest and wettest, water can be both a blessing and a curse. The level of the Chari and Logone rivers that run through the capital N’Djamena is rising every day and several neighborhoods are already flooded. A man who waded home from church knee-deep in water told a local journalist: “We prayed many times to God for him to give us rain. Now he has given it to us and although we are now under water, we must accept it rather than regret it. God answered our prayers.”

A street in the Walia neighborhood of N'Djamena. ©OCHA

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Livelihood interventions save lives and strenghten resilience

Senior Regional Emergency Coordinator
FAO’s Sub-regional Emergency and Rehabilitation Office - West Africa/Sahel
FAO Representative Senegal a.i.

The frequency, complexity and scale of crises affecting food and agriculture make it increasingly difficult for smallholder producers to cope and recover each time. That is why disaster risk reduction and resilience – from protecting and strengthening sustainable livelihood systems to bolstering monitoring and early warning to developing institutional capacity to manage risks – figure so prominently in FAO’s strategies and programmes. To build a world without hunger, we need to ensure that vulnerable farmers, fishers, foresters and other at-risk groups are better able to withstand and bounce back from these shocks so they can provide for themselves and their families.

FAO’s first priority is to help crisis-affected farming families – many of whom have lost all of their productive assets such as seeds and livestock – produce their own food and rebuild their lives and livelihoods as quickly as possible. At the same time, FAO’s emergency assistance increasingly supports and feeds into longer-term efforts to reduce risks due to multiple hazards.

 For 2013, FAO is requesting a total of USD 135.3 million for livelihood interventions in the Sahel. To start the operations for the main agricultural campaign (May – October 2013), USD 99 million are immediately required. We need urgent assistance to support vulnerable people in need.

Please visit our website www.fao.org/crisis/sahel/the-sahel-crisis/en/

Friday, March 15, 2013

Conflict in Mali: A survivor’s story

Citizens of Konna are now returning to their homes, but not without vivid memories of fleeing for their lives.


By Maura Hart, Senior Press Officer | Oxfam America

January 10, 2013: it’s a day that Nanaï Touré*, and other residents of Konna, Mali, will never forget.

Konna is a small city near the border between northern and southern Mali, the main dividing line of the current conflict. The city was home to about 41,000 people, mostly farmers, herders, fishermen, and traders. When armed rebel groups from the north arrived in January, followed closely by the French airstrikes that were targeting them, 90 percent of the population fled the city within a day, joining hundreds of thousands of displaced Malians.
Nanaï Touré imitates how she covered her head when the armed
groups arrived in Konna on January 10.
 Photo: Habibatou Gologo/Oxfam
“I live in the third district of Konna near the fishing port, which was partially destroyed by an airstrike,” said Touré. “When the armed groups came  to Konna on January 10, like other inhabitants of Konna I fled by pirogue [a small, flat-bottomed boat] to the surrounding village of Diantakaye because a projectile fell on the roof of my hut.

I have three children. I grabbed the youngest to flee and had water up to my shoulders. I asked people to help my husband who is disabled. I didn’t know where my other two children were. But a week after the military intervention, we found each other again at home.”

A few weeks later, Konna’s central city market has reopened and citizens are now returning to their homes, but not without vivid memories, like Touré’s, of fleeing for their lives.

Oxfam is helping displaced people in Mali as well as refugees in Mauritania, Burkina Faso, and Niger with food, water and sanitation services, health and hygiene kits, as well as classroom construction and gender sensitization training in some areas.
*Not her real name

Originally posted in Oxfam America’s First Person Blog.

For more go to http://www.oxfamamerica.org/

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Thursday, March 14, 2013

Bienvenue à M. Robert Piper, Coordonnateur Humanitaire Régional pour le Sahel

M. Robert Piper, le nouveau Coordonnateur humanitaire régional pour le Sahel, a pris ses fonctions le 7 mars 2013. M. Piper succède à David Gressly.

De nationalité australienne, Robert Piper apporte dans ses nouvelles fonctions 24 ans d'expérience avec l'ONU, dont deux positions de Coordonnateur résident / Coordonnateur humanitaire au Kosovo et au Népal, deux ans en tant que chef de cabinet du Président Clinton lorsque celui-ci dirigeait les efforts internationaux de reconstruction après le tsunami de 2004 dans l’océan Indien, une expérience en tant que conseiller principal pour la réforme des Nations Unies au Siège du PNUD, un passage comme adjoint de ce qui est maintenant le Bureau de la prévention des crises et du relèvement du PNUD et divers postes de longue durée sur le terrain, en Thaïlande, au Cambodge et à Fidji. Son expérience s’étend de la consolidation de la paix à la réduction des risques, au développement et à la coordination humanitaire, toutes activités qui sont particulièrement pertinentes pour les défis complexes qui nous font face dans le Sahel.
Pour plus d'informations sur le Sahel visitez http://www.unocha.org/rowca/

Welcome to Robert Piper, Regional Humanitarian Coordinator for the Sahel

Robert Piper, the new Regional Humanitarian Coordinator for the Sahel, took up his assignment on 7 March in Dakar, taking over from David Gressly.

Robert Piper, an Australian national, brings 24 years of experience with the UN to his new role, including two Resident Coordinator/Humanitarian Coordinator assignments in Kosovo and Nepal, two years as Chief of Staff to former President Clinton when he led the international Tsunami recovery effort, a period as Senior Advisor on UN reform at UNDP Headquarters, a stint as Deputy of what is now UNDP's Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery and various long-term field assignments in Thailand, Cambodia and Fiji. His experience spans peace-building, risk reduction, development and humanitarian coordination, all of which are especially relevant for the complex challenges in front of us in the Sahel.
For more on the Sahel http://www.unocha.org/rowca/ 

Follow Robert Piper on Twitter

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Mali : les personnes déplacées hésitent à prendre le chemin du retour


Par le CICR

L'instabilité, les violences et les combats au nord du Mali n'incitent pas les personnes déplacées à retourner chez elles. De nouveaux déplacements ont même été observés, et ces groupes viennent s'ajouter à des milliers d'autres, personnes déplacées et familles d'accueil, qui peinent à faire face à leurs besoins essentiels, en eau et nourriture notamment.

« Si les déplacés hésitent toujours à rentrer, c'est essentiellement lié à un sentiment général d'insécurité mais aussi à l’impossibilité pour ces personnes de continuer d'exercer une activité économique dans un contexte aussi instable », explique Jean-Nicolas Marti, chef de la délégation du CICR pour le Mali et le Niger.

Pour les personnes déplacées et les familles résidentes qui les accueillent, les conditions de vie deviennent chaque jour plus difficiles. « Les timides retours constatés début février dans la partie centrale du pays ne se sont pas généralisés. La poursuite des combats invite à la prudence », poursuit Jean-Nicolas Marti.

La situation est particulièrement difficile dans le nord-est du pays, et des familles de Gao, Kidal et Tessalit vont encore chercher refuge loin de leurs villages d’origine.

Les personnes qui viennent de rentrer à Konna reçoivent des vivres du CICR.
Credit: CICR

Soutien à la population touchée par le conflit

Pour répondre aux besoins urgents des personnes déplacées, le CICR et la Croix-Rouge malienne ont distribué122 tonnes de vivres (riz, huile, semoule, sel iodé) à 6 600 personnes à Tin Zaouatène, une localité de la région de Kidal, dans le nord-est du pays, à proximité de la frontière algérienne.

Afin de faciliter l'accès à l'eau potable et améliorer les conditions d'hygiène des déplacés de Tin Zaouatène, des puits et des latrines sont en cours de réhabilitation. Des jerrycans et des pastilles de purification de l'eau leur ont en outre été distribués.

À Korientzé et Sendegué, dans la région centrale de Konna, 3 240 autres personnes déplacées et résidentes ont reçu une assistance en vivres.

Par ailleurs, si les conditions de sécurité le permettent, le CICR et la Croix-Rouge malienne prévoient, dans les prochaines semaines, de distribuer une assistance alimentaire à plus de 290 000 personnes vulnérables, déplacées et résidentes, dans les régions de Mopti, Tombouctou et Gao.

Hôpital de Gao : soins aux blessés

À la suite des récents combats qui ont eu lieu dans la ville de Gao, huit blessés ont été soignés dans l'hôpital soutenu par le CICR. Cette dernière semaine il y a eu au total 313 consultations, 45 hospitalisations et 8 accouchements dans cette structure, dont l'équipe médicale a été renforcée par l'arrivée d'un chirurgien supplémentaire.

Dans les régions de Tombouctou et de Gao, cinq centres de santé communautaire ont été approvisionnés en médicaments qui devraient couvrir les besoins pour les trois mois à venir. Cette action reflète l'attention particulière qui est portée à l'accès aux soins pour la population rurale touchée par le conflit.

Visite aux personnes détenues en raison du conflit

Des délégués du CICR poursuivent leurs visites aux personnes arrêtées et détenues en relation avec le conflit, notamment à Bamako, Mopti, Sévaré, Gao, Tombouctou et Kidal. À l'occasion de ces visites, il a été donné aux détenus la possibilité de rétablir le contact avec leur famille. Dans certains cas, des articles d'hygiène ont également été distribués.

Le CICR poursuit son dialogue avec les parties pour avoir accès à toutes les personnes arrêtées et détenues en lien avec le conflit.

Soutien aux services vétérinaires

« En raison de l’insécurité qui entrave la circulation du personnel et du matériel, l'accès aux troupeaux pour les services vétérinaires est devenu particulièrement difficile », explique Philippe Mbonyingingo, chef de la sous-délégation du CICR à Mopti.

Le CICR continue d'apporter son soutien à la vaccination et au traitement de plus de 1,5 million de têtes de bétail contre la péripneumonie contagieuse bovine, la peste des petits ruminants et la pasteurellose cameline. Cette campagne de vaccination, menée en collaboration avec le ministère de l’Élevage et de la pêche, vise à vacciner le plus grand nombre possible de têtes de bétail dans toutes les régions du nord du Mali.

Diffusion du droit international humanitaire (DIH)

Le CICR poursuit les séances de sensibilisation qu'il organise sur le droit international humanitaire, notamment auprès des forces armées maliennes et des contingents étrangers.

Plus d´information sur le CICR

Suizez le CICR sur twitter

Monday, March 11, 2013

Why we should not forget about Mali ?

By Maria Mutya Frio, Communications Manager, World Vision West Africa


The French army is leaving soon, the media is now more interested in the Pope and in Pistorius, and the displaced people of Mali are thinking of going back home. Why should we still care about Mali?

More than 10 million people will go hungry in Mali, one of whom is Natasha Kounta, a widower and mother of three children. She fled Timbuktu last year and settled in the capital Bamako along with her cousin and children. Natasha’s plight is no different from the thousands who fled the armed conflict: she was caught unaware of gunshots just outside her home, she gathered her children, took a lorry with very few belongings, traveled for a week and finally settled in Bamako. She and her family live by whatever food she can get for the day.
Last year’s food and nutrition crisis that gripped the Sahel region including Mali is not over yet. The recent armed conflict disrupted markets, harvests were dismal, food prices continued to skyrocket and household food supply dwindled as displaced people were taken in by generous Malian families. And as the next planting season approaches, farmers who lost their livelihoods can no longer afford to buy seeds (or have gone into debt last year), or humanitarian and food assistance remains constrained due to insecurity. FEWSNet predicts that with these factors, Mali could face another food crisis as early as April, particularly in the northern regions.

Displaced Malians were taken in by other families,
straining an already dwindling food supply. Credit: WVI

 And as it stands, about a million children are still highly vulnerable to food insecurity. UNICEF estimates that at least a quarter of all children in Mali under the age of five suffers from malnutrition. No child should ever have to lose his or her life over a disease that is preventable and treatable. One life lost is one too many.

The cycle will go on. The Sahel region has been hit three times in the last seven years by food and nutrition crises primarily due to a “resilience deficit.” Communities lack the capacity and the structures not only to bounce back from chronic hunger caused by low agricultural production and armed conflict, rather they lack the ability to address the structural causes and adopt strategies to withstand shocks.

Children caught in armed conflict need to be protected. We’ve all heard the stories about children being abducted as child brides who were raped or young boys enlisted at rebel camps. Amnesty International’s initial assessment of human rights violations indicated evidence of child soldiers: “These children were carrying rifles. One of them was so small that his rifle was sometimes dragging on the ground.”
Whether children fall into Government custody or integrated back into their communities, it is imperative that they receive appropriate psycho-social support and that their rights as a child be respected. The same goes for children who were exposed to violence, those who fled, whose schooling were disrupted, and those separated from their families. More child protection specialists should be sent on the ground to train communities, health professionals, educators, volunteers and families.

The education of 700,000 children had been affected and 200,000 are still denied access according to UNICEF. That’s boys and girls in various levels whose schooling were disrupted due to the conflict, and are still fearful to go back or with no educational system to go back to. At least 115 schools in the north were closed, destroyed and looted, some of which indicated the presence of unexploded ordinances. Many teachers have not yet returned to work. This has overcrowded schools in the south with the influx of newly displaced children from the north.

As the narrative on Mali fades in the public eye, let’s not forget that our engagement is not over yet. Now more than ever that the Malian people need humanitarian assistance that will hopefully, eventually transition into recovery and further development, with a hope and a prayer that peace and security be restored once again.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

School helps Malian refugee children in the Niger return to normalcy

By Shushan Mebrahtu/ UNICEF

 Adjusting to life in a camp in the Niger is difficult, for Malian refugee children – but school provides a place to learn, play and forge friendships.

It is the first day of class for Malian refugee children at the primary school in Mangaize camp.

Adjusting to a new life in the camp, which stretches over the Sahara Desert, is not easy, particularly for children who have escaped the violence back home.

But, at this school, they are trying to return to normalcy. They are excited to learn, play and socialize with their friends.


School in the camp

Mangaize is one of three official camps among the six sites in the Niger hosting 50,000 Malians, more than 42 per cent of whom are school-age children.

UNICEF and its partner, NGO Plan International, have installed and furnished 11 tent classrooms and provided school supplies. In order to reduce language and culture barriers, new Malian teachers are trained in the Nigerien curriculum and in techniques of providing crash courses to cover missed school time.

The primary school opened five months ago has enrolled 837 students, a number that is increasing as new refugees continue to arrive.

“These children go to school because education is the basis of their future,” says Vice President of the Refugee Committee in Mangaize refugee camp Ag Bonjoly Aklinine.


School in the host community


A Nigerien middle school next to the refugee camp has opened its doors to Malian students living in the camp. UNICEF is helping the school to improve its capacity to welcome and integrate the students. New latrines have been constructed and a hand pump installed to meet the needs of all of the children – Malian refugee and Nigerien host, alike.

Adjusting to a new learning environment is a challenge for the Malian children, who are far from their friends and are trying to fit in to a new setting.

“On the first day at school, I felt I was left out. I did not know anyone; I was struggling to find my way around,” says Falmata Aghali, 14. Falmata and her grandmother fled conflict in Menaka, northern Mali, and are living in Mangaize camp. “My parents are in Bamako,” she continues. When I was alone, I thought about them and used to feel lonely, as I did not have any friends here.”

Falmata, who is in her second year of middle school, is slowly adjusting well, thanks to support from her new teachers and classmates.

“On the second day at school, two girls approached me and introduced themselves. They asked me where I came from, and we started chatting. Ever since then, they have become my close friends.” Falmata looks forward to the day when she will be reunited with her family in Mali. But, for now, she is safe here and “happy to be in school”.


Safe play areas

In addition to education, UNICEF and Plan International are supporting services to help distressed children recover from the trauma they experienced as they escaped the fighting.

There are four child-friendly spaces in the camp, which offer the children a place to play and get psychosocial support to cope with the stress they have experienced. Each day, trained volunteer animators organize activities including dancing, sports, games, drawing and culture awareness sessions.

Protection Officer of Plan International Abou Zeid talks about the benefits of one dancing session: “This imagination activity helps the children to stay connected to their culture even if they have moved far away. It also offers the children an opportunity for entertainment.”


Needs are dire

UNICEF is working with its partners to help Malian children realize their right to education and to their bright future. So far, more than 4,700 refugee children are enrolled in five primary schools in refugee camps and official sites hosting Malian refugees in the Niger, one of the poorest countries in the world. But the needs are dire.

UNICEF and its partners in the Niger need US$3.32 million to respond fully and effectively to the growing humanitarian needs of Malian refugees.

For more go to http://www.unicef.org

Friday, March 1, 2013

Video: The Human Chain in the Sahel




The Sahel has been hit by severe droughts three times in seven years. Normally it’s every 10 years. This documentary produced by Humanitarian Aid ECHO & World Food Programme, shows the triple crises challenges faced in the Sahel and how the population was assisted.

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