Mali Crisis: CRS Assists Refugees in Neighboring Niger
With no end in sight to the conflict in Mali, Catholic Relief Services continues to meet the needs of those displaced inside the country as well as refugees who fled across the border.
In neighboring Niger, CRS is assisting thousands of Malians who have sought refuge there. Leaving everything behind as violence engulfed their villages in northern Mali, the men, women and children who arrive daily at impromptu refugee sites here are in critical need of food, water, shelter, protection, hygiene and health services. CRS, with support from the State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (BPRM), is meeting those needs by:
- Constructing improved shelters
- Distributing clothes and shoes to thousands of women and children
- Providing monthly emergency food rations for nearly 2,000 families
- Drilling boreholes for water
- Promoting hygiene in the camps to thwart off disease outbreaks
- Training leaders on conflict resolution and gender and protection issues
- Vaccinating children as well as people’s livestock.
The crisis in Mali began when Islamist rebels took over the northern part of the country in January 2012. Since then, hundreds of thousands have fled the conflict to the south or to neighboring countries. The deployment of French forces in early 2013 to battle rebels alongside the Malian army and win back territory has sent even more people fleeing from their homes and villages. While the French-led offensive is advancing north, retaking towns previously held by rebels, the situation remains fluid, and CRS continues to help those affected.