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The ICRC in Mali

11-12-2013 Overview

In Mali, the ICRC brings aid to people suffering the combined effects of the armed conflict and the weather.

Visiting detainees

The ICRC visits people detained in connection with the armed conflict. An agreement signed with the Malian government gives the ICRC access to all places of detention in the country.

We renovate facilities and run nutrition programmes in some prisons. We also improve the detainees’ living conditions, exchange news between prisoners and their families and sometimes helps them return to live with their families.

Helping displaced people and refugees

The ICRC and the Mali Red Cross provide emergency aid to displaced and local people in the regions of Gao, Kidal, Timbuktu and Mopti.

Both we and the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies of the region have provided aid to the large numbers of people who have fled to neighbouring countries because of the conflict.

Many people have been able to stay in touch with their families thanks to the support of the Mali Red Cross and Red Cross messages.

Caring for the sick and wounded

The ICRC supports several health facilities in northern Mali, such as Gao hospital, enabling them to remain open.

Providing drinking water

As well as repairing water points in rural areas, the ICRC has for some time been supplying fuel to power stations in the cities of Gao, Kidal and Timbuktu. This has kept the water pumping stations running. With the backing of the local authorities, the ICRC is now gradually handing over responsibility for maintaining the water supply to local water utilities.

Mitigating the effects of the food crisis

Together with the Mali Red Cross, the ICRC has distributed food to over half a million people in northern Mali. ICRC support has helped upgrade irrigation systems and increase agricultural activity, boosting food production and farmers’ income.

With ICRC support, millions of animals have been vaccinated and treated against parasites. Animal feed has been made available. In some areas the weakest animals are bought by the ICRC, slaughtered and the meat distributed to the poorest people. The proceeds from the sale of the animals enable farmers to buy grain.

Supporting refugees and migrants returning from Libya

Through its delegations in neighbouring countries, the ICRC enables Malian refugees to exchange news with their families. We also provide emergency food.

The situation in Libya has driven migrants, including many Malians, to return home via Niger. The ICRC and the Red Cross Society of Niger have set up a transit centre in Agadez to ensure vulnerable migrants have food and transport, and can communicate with their families.

Working with the Mali Red Cross

The ICRC liaises with the Mali Red Cross for all its aid activities and provides it with training and resources to improve its emergency-response capacity.

We also coordinates our activities in Mali with other components of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and other humanitarian agencies.

Promoting international humanitarian law

The ICRC promotes international humanitarian law among armed forces personnel and other weapon bearers.



Food distribution near Kidal (north-eastern Mali).

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