People of Mali need assistance to rebuild lives: UN official

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Mothers and their children wait in line at the nutrition center in Bamako, Mali. Credit: OCHA

The people of Mali don't want to be dependent on aid but need assistance to rebuild their lives and livelihoods as they recover from the conflict.

That's the message conveyed by John Ging, Director of Operations of the United Nations humanitarian agency (OCHA) who has just returned from a four-day visit to the country.

Mr. Ging said that during his visit he not only visited Bamako, the capital but Mopti and Timbuktu.

He told reporters in New York on Tuesday that the people in northern Mali are still traumatized by violence including the rape of women and brutality committed against children.

"In all of the cases though, what came through very clearly was the dignity and resilience of the people. They were very clear thinking in their request of us in the humanitarian community. They want not to be aid-dependent but they want help to be able to build their lives and their livelihoods. The first priority communicated to us on every occasion was protection, security, safety. That, of course links into the responsibility of the Malian security forces in the first instance." (29")

Mr. Ging said that on the livelihoods and humanitarian side, people were clear that they need help particularly in the agricultural sector.

They need tools and support for the rehabilitation of water pumping stations and are also concerned about electricity outages.

He said another priority is education in Mali where the conflict has affected about 700,000 children with 200,000 of them not getting any education at all since January 2012.

Donn Bobb, United Nations.

Duration: 1'29"

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