Medical charity assists northern Mali village attacked by armed groups

Bamako, Mali (PANA) - Medical charity, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is providing emergency medical care after an attack on Tindinbawen village in northern Mali.

On 27 July, non-state armed groups attacked the village of Tindinbawen, Ansongo district, in northern Mali in which several people were killed and around 80 families forced to flee to Tin Hama, a village located 80 kilometres away.

“The people we met told us how the attackers stormed the village, burned houses and executed a number of men. People had no choice but to flee for safety in the surrounding villages,” said Rodrigue Nganaboy, MSF field coordinator in Ansongo.

MSF quoted the villagers as saying  pregnant women, children and the elderly had to walk the 80 kilometres to Tin Hama. “People arrived exhausted; they ran out of water and food and had to travel through the middle of a storm during their journey.”

An MSF team subsequently travelled to the village of Tin Hama to assess the immediate needs of the displaced people.

“When we first arrived, the living conditions were deplorable: access to water and food was limited, and people had no household or hygiene items,” Rodrigue explains.

“There were also no shelters or mosquito nets to protect them from the elements. None of the children were vaccinated and pregnant women hadn’t received any medical attention.” Apart from some food donated by the local community, displaced people in Tin Hama had little else.

MSF and the Ministry of Health vaccinated 97 children against measles and other potentially deadly childhood diseases. “To prevent outbreaks of disease among the displaced people, we have prioritised a vaccination campaign to immunise children against the most dangerous diseases,” says Rodrigue.

An MSF mental health team has provided care to 103 people through the psycho-education activities.

People have been traumatised by what happened and don’t want to return to their village. “Three women who received individual mental health consultations told us how their husbands were executed by the attackers,” Rodrigue continues. “They were arrested, gathered together and killed on the spot.”

MSF says it has also distributed essential relief items including mosquito nets, mats, plates, clothes and pans to displaced families.

However, the need for food remains a real concern, and the risks of malnutrition will only increase if people cannot access food aid soon, it warned.

“These displaced people are relying on donations of food from the local community. But we believe this support won’t last, since the local people don’t have much themselves. We are concerned about the risk of malnutrition in the coming weeks,” says Rodrigue.
-0- PANA MA 29Aug2018

29 august 2018 07:15:35

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