MSF wants access to strife-torn areas of Mali


As bombings and combat continue in multiple locations in Mali, the medical humanitarian organisation Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) called on all parties to authorise humanitarian organisations to enter the Konna area and allow aid provision in all areas affected by fighting.

MSF has been in contact with Mali’s civilian and military authorities, as well as the French army and government, in an effort to obtain authorisation to send medical teams to Konna. To date access roads to this central town remain closed by the Malian army.
“Despite repeated requests the authorities continue to refuse to grant us access to the area. It is critical that neutral, impartial medical and humanitarian aid be allowed into the areas affected by fighting. We call on all parties to the conflict to respect both the civilian populations and the work of humanitarian organisations,” MSF operations director Malik Allaouna said.

MSF is currently trying to send a medical team to the area to assess needs and to deliver medical and humanitarian assistance.
“MSF has been working in Mali for several months now, both in areas controlled by the army and in areas controlled by the various armed groups in the north of the country. Since the Malian and French forces began their offensive we have not been able to cross front lines despite our neutrality. Entire regions are now cut off from outside aid,” he said.

MSF is still working in the regions of Mopti, Timbuktu and Gao. In Douentza, where MSF’s team has been blocked for several days, cut off from any resupply options, patients have again started visiting the referral health centre for medical consultations.

MSF has brought in two trucks of medical material and drugs to supply medical facilities in the Mopti area. It seems many residents have fled the fighting and some places have become almost ghost towns. MSF is doing all it can to find where these displaced people are to set up mobile clinics.

Following the bombardments in Lere, further to the north, several hundred people crossed the border into Mauritania. MSF teams in Mauritania have initiated an emergency response plan and are on site providing assistance.
“Two hundred refugees have arrived by car or truck at Fassala camp in Mauritania. The latest arrivals tell us there are many more refugees fleeing on foot because they have no other transport,” head of MSF programmes in Mauritania Karl Nawezi said.

MSF teams in Mali currently comprise about 450 Malian and 50 international staff. MSF is also working in the southern part of the country, providing nutritional programmes in Koutiala region, and is working in neighbouring Burkina Faso, Mauritania and Niger.