Malians Flee as Fighting Breaks Out
Segou, Mali – Scared Malians, mainly women and children, are on the move again following clashes between armed insurgents and the national army. They are fleeing towns such as Sévaré which is located 56km south of Konna – the town seized by armed insurgents on Friday.
“People are just fleeing Sévaré. They are leaving town using any transport available”, said Nouhoum Coulibaly, director of GAAS Mali, a local NGO partner of Plan Mali.
Hundreds of displaced people (IDPs) are already arriving in Segou said Programme Unit Manager of Plan Mali Bocoum Mamadou. Plan has a humanitarian operation in Segou which is located about 400km south of Sévaré.
“They are mainly children and women from Sévaré and the Mopti region. They are exhausted and stressed,” he said.
Relief supplies ready
Plan’s Country Director William Michelet said that essential relief supplies are being positioned in Segou to help the newly displaced, however the humanitarian response is hampered by inadequate funds.
"Our resources are already stretched. We need urgent support if we are to meet the needs of the newly arrived IDPs. The cold weather is now worsening the vulnerability of the children and their families”, he said.
Temperatures in Segou are currently between 10 and 15 degrees Celsius in a country that normally enjoys between 35-38 degrees during the summer.
Plan is already helping thousands of children and their families in Segou who were displaced in early 2012. Plan is delivering several services including child protection, education and nutrition.
On the ground, at the north-south border in Mali, a military operation is underway, with France pledging to intervene as quickly as possible to support the national army.
Plan says that the coming days will be crucial and the international community should act quickly to ensure that a major humanitarian crisis does not develop.
Founded 75 years ago, Plan is one of the oldest and largest children’s development organisations in the world. We work in 50 developing countries across Africa, Asia and the Americas to promote child rights and lift millions of children out of poverty. Plan is independent, with no religious, political or governmental affiliations.
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