Any views expressed in this article are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters Foundation.
On the first anniversary of the Mali Conflict, the global children rights organisation Plan International is calling on donor governments to provide more humanitarian aid alongside military intervention budgets.
“There is a major imbalance which needs to be addressed by donor nations. Conflict causes huge, long-term disruption to people’s lives. Provision of shelter, reconstruction, and protection of children whose lives have been shattered by conflict need to be a top priority,” said Plan CEO Nigel Chapman.
“Back in January, on the day that a donor conference was held in Addis Ababa to raise these funds for the Mali conflict, humanitarian agencies had barely received 1% of the $370 million they had been appealing for the Sahel region since last year. Then, to our great concern, we learn that in just a few hours, donors in Ethiopia willingly opened their treasuries to underwrite the mission with $455 million of funds.
“Since then aid donations have increased to 15% however, it is still a comparatively tiny sum to provide the substantial emergency response that we need,” he added.
Nearly a quarter of a million children have been displaced by the conflict in Mali. They comprise 51% of total 447,542 displaced people who have been scattered across six countries including Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger where Plan works.
“This funding gap is extremely worrying and will be a major block in reaching out to vulnerable children,” said Fadimata Alainchar Country Director of Plan Mali.
“We have stepped up our humanitarian operation in seven locations in Ségou Region, including Diabaly which was retaken from the armed insurgents, in Mopti region in Central Mali and we are now preparing to start operations in Timbuktu. Our focus is on education, child protection, water, sanitation, hygiene and other life saving needs,” she added.
In neighbouring Niger and Burkina Faso Plan is servicing several refugee camps providing water, sanitation, hygiene awareness training, education and protection.
Head of Disaster Response and Preparedness, Dr Unni Krishnan, said that in conflict situations displacement can range from a few months to a few decades.
“Plan International has been operating in these West African states for decades and we are here for the long haul. We will need the long term commitment of donors and governments to stay with us during the long term recovery as we build resilience of affected communities.”
Plan is appealing for $25 million for its 2013 emergency response for the Mali Conflict.
Further details please contact:
MALI: Thiekoro Coulibay, PR and Communications Advisor (French, English)
Mobile: +223 76 29 40 42
Skype name: thcoulibaly
BURKINA FASO: Françoise Kaboré, Media, Communication and PR Coordinator (French, English)
Mobile: +226 76 20 25 11
Skype name: francoisekabore
NIGER: Aminatou Abdou, Communications Officer (French)
Mobile: +227 94 26 55 33
Skype name: aminatou.bakah
REGIONAL OFFICE: Florence Cisse, Regional Media Specialist, Senegal
Mobile: +221 777 403 600,
Skype name: madamelcisse
UK HQ: Terry Ally, Press Officer, Emergencies and Disasters, Plan International UK,
Mobile: + 44 7720 736 884
Skype name: terryally