January 16, 2013

As bombings and combat continue in multiple locations in Mali, MSF calls on all parties to the conflict to authorize humanitarian organizations to enter the area of Konna and to allow aid to be provided in all areas affected by fighting.



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From left, the towns of Lere, Konna, and Douentza, where armed conflict is hampering the provision of medical aid.

BRUSSELS/NEW YORK, January 17, 2013—As bombings and combat continue in multiple locations in Mali, the medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) calls on all parties to the conflict to authorize humanitarian organizations to enter the area of Konna and to allow aid to be provided in all areas affected by fighting.

MSF has been in contact with Mali’s civilian and military authorities since January 14, as well as with the French army and government, in an effort to obtain authorization to send medical teams to Konna. To date, access roads to this town in central Mali remain closed by the Malian army.

“Despite our repeated requests, the authorities continue to refuse to grant us access to the area of Konna,” said Malik Allaouna, MSF operations director. "It is critical that neutral, impartial medical and humanitarian aid be allowed into the areas affected by fighting. We call on all parties to the conflict to respect both the civilian populations and the work of humanitarian organizations.”

MSF is currently trying to send a medical team to the area to assess the needs and to deliver medical and humanitarian assistance.

“MSF has been working in Mali for several months now, both in areas controlled by the army and in areas controlled by the various armed groups in the north of the country,” Allaouna said. “But since the Malian and French forces began their offensive, we have not been able to cross the front lines despite our neutrality. Entire regions are now cut off from outside aid.”

MSF is, however, still working in the regions of Mopti, Timbuktu and Gao. Patients have again started visiting an MSF referral health center in Douentza, a town in the Mopti region that was previously inaccessible due to armed conflict.

MSF’s teams in Mali currently comprise approximately 450 Malian and 50 international staff. MSF is also working in the southern part of the country, providing nutritional programs in the Koutiala region, and is providing care to Malian refugees in the neighboring countries of Burkina Faso, Mauritania and Niger.