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Emergency Response for Children Fleeing Mali Conflict

The global child rights organization Plan International is setting up an emergency response operation in central Mali to aid those who have been displaced.

Hundreds of north Malians have been arriving in the Ségou, Mali’s fifth largest city, since a military offensive started on Friday against armed insurgents.

Plan Mali staff in Ségou say that since last Friday hundreds of displaced persons are taking refuge in the city and this number is expected to swell in the coming days.

“People, mainly women and children, have been arriving by all means possible from the region of Mopti,” said Bocoum Mamadou, who is managing Plan Mali’s emergency operation in Ségou.

“Their immediate needs include food, shelter, access to proper sanitation and psychological support and protection for children,” he added.

Plan will be distributing rice and non-food items, school kits for displaced students, setting up special classes for them and providing hot school meals.

“The emotional welfare of children whose lives have suddenly become disrupted is one of our major concerns,” said Plan’s Country Director Michelet William from Bamako. “We are therefore setting up safe places for them to come together, interact, and play which will go a long way in addressing the emotional challenges they face.”

The emergency response operation is estimated to cost $3.2 million over the next six months.