UN regains access to Central Mali: GresslyListen /
"The situation today is that we now have access back into Central Mali", according to a top official of the UN Office or the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs – OCHA.
David Gressly told reporters in Geneva that the UN is now able once again to send supplies northward towards Timbuktu and is reinforcing its presence in Mokti as its logistics base.
He says the UN food agency –the World Food Programme initiated those shipments in the last two days but the UN is looking for broader access for those shipments throughout North Mali.
“ We are concerned about the population in the north at this point because they have been cut off around the surrounding borders have been closed; commercial traffic has been closed going into the north; we did not stockpile huge amounts of supplies in the north prior to this, partly because of fears of pillaging and so forth, so it's important that we get early access into northern Mali.”
Gressly, the UN Regional Coordinator for the Sahel says there are approximately 500-thousand people in northern Mali that are food insecure – and in need of this assistance.
The UN is also concerned about the protection of civilians on the ground.
And Gressly cautions that while there have been several allegations, in the north of Mali, a greater humanitarian presence will be helpful in getting human rights monitors on the ground to assess the validity of the allegations.
Donn Bobb, United Nations.