Conflict threatens Mali civilians15th January 2013
The medical aid group Medicins Sans Frontieres (MSF), also known as Doctors Without Borders, has warned armed conflict is hampering the provision of medical aid in northern Mali.
The group called on all parties to the conflict in Mali to avoid harming civilians and health structures.
It said civilians have been affected by armed conflict over the last few days in Konna and by bombardments in Lere and Douentza, a town in the northeast of Mali's Mopti region, where the group has a support team working in a local hospital.
According to emergency response coordinator Rosa Crestani, people were afraid to move around in the streets of Douentza, because of recent bombardments and fighting.
Patients who need medical treatment are not able to make it through to the hospital, she said.
MSF has warned that people living near the combat zones, and their medical facilities, are under threat from the fighting.
Large numbers of deaths and injuries, some of them civilians were reported, according to Mego Terzian, who manages the emergency response in Mali.
The organisation has shipped in two truckloads of supplies and drugs for medical facilities in the Mopti region, where many people have fled the fighting, leaving some communities deserted.
The group has set up some mobile clinics to assist those displaced by the conflict, as well as providing emergency medical relief to several hundred refugees who crossed into neighbouring Mauritania following bombardments in Lere.
At least 200 people had crossed the border by road to the Fassala refugee camp, according to Karl Nawezi, head of MSF’s programs in Mauritania.
He said many more were heading in the same direction on foot, because they were unable to find motor transport.
The group is treating those wounded in the conflict in and around Gao in Timbuktu, around seven hours' drive away from the conflict zone, and has a presence in community centres in the city.
The group has concentrated on providing surgery, medical help and boosting nutrition in Mali since the conflict began in October.
It is also running nutrition programmes in the south of the country, the statement said.
Malian refugees are also receiving MSF assistance in neighbouring Niger and Burkina Faso.
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Title: Conflict threatens Mali civilians
Author: Luisetta Mudie
Article Id: 23519
Date Added: 15th Jan 2013