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The last few days have seen a constant influx of displaced families to the village of Tinzawaten, 300km north-east of Kidal, close to the Mali-Algeria border. Doctors of the World has opened a health facility to provide nutritional and medical aid to the thousands of people arriving at the site in desperate need.
“The number has tripled from 400 to 1,200 families in less than a week – that’s 6,000 people – and there’s no sign of the flow drying up”, explains Olivier Vandecasteele, Doctors of the World Desk Officer for Mali. “They are mainly women, children and the elderly. Since the journey from Kidal takes two days, they are arriving in a state of extreme distress.”
Our teams report that the new arrivals are living in very difficult conditions. “As the sun beats down, dozens of them squeeze in under trucks in their search for shade, while others have no form of shelter whatsoever”, says Vandecasteele.
For over a week now Doctors of the World has been providing the displaced people in Tinzawaten with nutritional and medical aid. Assistance is being given at a fast pace, with more than 300 medical consultations for the prevention and treatment of illness and disease already conducted.
“Population movements, overcrowding and poor sanitary conditions greatly increase the risk of epidemics”, warns Vandecasteele. This concern is compounded by the fact that cases of measles have been reported in the refugee camps on the other side of the border in Algeria.
Continuing efforts are, however, being made to deal with the situation. “Additional medical teams have arrived and, despite the major logistical challenges, several tons of supplies are on their way to Kidal”, says Vandecasteele.
For more information:
Olivier Vandecasteele, Desk Officer for Mali: +32 490 11 49 91
Marie-Anne Robberecht, Press Officer: +32 493 25 49 09