Red Cross seeks funds to avert ‘humanitarian crisis’ in Mali and Niger

The Red Cross on Tuesday called for emergency funds to “help avert a major humanitarian crisis” in the west African nations of Niger and Mali. 

A picture released on February 20, 2012 by aid agency Oxfam shows Ahmed Di Ba, a resident of Kaedi, in the drought stricken South of Mauritania, telling he is unable to find any pasture for his cows. Image by: AFP PHOTO / OXFAM - PABLO TOSCO

The appeal for $13.7 million (10.2 million euros) is aimed at helping some 700,000 people threatened by drought as well as fighting in northern Mali, the International Committee of the Red Cross said in a statement.

“The fighting has resulted in casualties. In addition, people have been taken captive and families have been dispersed,” said Boris Michel, the ICRC’s North and West Africa head of operations.

The ICRC is preparing to distribute food to 84,000 people and emergency supplies to around 60,000 others, he said.

The aid is intended for people in Kidal, Gao and Timbuktu regions in northern Mali and the Tillabery and Agadez regions of Niger.

The funds will be added to 18.3 million euros originally earmarked for this region this year.

The ICRC has been present in Mali and Niger since 2009.

Tuareg rebels, boosted by the return of some who had been fighting for late Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi, launched attacks on several northern towns in Mali last month as part of their campaign for autonomy.

The United Nations says 126,400 people have been displaced by the fighting in Mali.



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