MALI / RETURNEES GAO

Preview Language:   Original
20-Mar-2019 00:03:11
When extremists took Gao in 2012, residents scattered, seeking safety across borders and elsewhere in Mali. But with the presence of peacekeepers and help from the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) and aid groups, the city is progressively resuming its role as an economic hub, and returnees are determined to rebuild. UNHCR

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STORY: MALI / RETURNEES GAO
TRT: 3:11
SOURCE: UNHCR
RESTRICTIONS: PLEASE CREDIT UNHCR ON SCREEN
LANGUAGE: LOCAL LANGUAGE / NATS

DATELINE: 11-13 FEBRUARY 2019, GAO, MALI

SHOTLIST:

11-13 FEBRUARY 2019, GAO, MALI

1. Aerial shots, Gao

11 FEBRUARY 2019, GAO, MALI

2. Wide shot, Malaiga’s house
3. Various shots, man repairing wall
4. Close up, Malaiga looking at wall
5. Wide shot, workers repairing wall
6. SOUNDBITE (Local Language) Zeynadin Ak Malaiga, Returned Gao Resident:
“I heard that peace and security had returned to Gao. That's why I decided to come back.”

13 FEBRUARY 2019, GAO, MALI

7. Wide shot, busy street
8. Wide shot, Place de l’Indépendence
9. Wide shot, men playing football
10. Wide shot, MINUSMA peacekeeper on street
11. Close up, MINUSMA peacekeeper
12. Wide shot, destroyed building

12 FEBRUARY 2019, GAO, MALI

13. Various shots, Mohammed working
14. SOUNDBITE (Local Language) Inta Ak Mohamed, Returned Gao Resident:
“With the money I’m going to buy tools. Also, a sheep or goats to draw milk and maybe later sell one to improve our situation.”
15. Various shots, Mohamed’s wife and son

11 FEBRUARY 2019, GAO, MALI

16. Various shots, Women from Bony Ben Association working in fields
17. SOUNDBITE (Local Language) Bouchira Touré, President, Bony Ben Association:
“In our group there are some women who sought refuge abroad and others who stayed during the hard times. We all get along well. We are very happy because this group brings us together.”
18. Various shots, Women from Bony Ben Association working in fields

13 FEBRUARY 2019, GAO, MALI

19. Aerial shot, fields

STORYLINE:

When extremists took Gao in 2012, residents scattered, seeking safety across borders and elsewhere in Mali. But with the presence of peacekeepers and help from the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) and aid groups, the city is progressively resuming its role as an economic hub, and returnees are determined to rebuild.

According to UNHCR around 60,000 people took refuge in neighbouring countries like Burkina Faso or Niger, and 20,000 were displaced within the country as a result of the violence. The Sahel is still a troubled and vast region with different armed groups proliferated. Despite the presence of a multinational UN Stabilization Mission, the peace and reconciliation process still lacks necessary support and has limited implementation.

Still, UNHCR said some 60,000 people have returned to Gao – those originally from the city, as well as others who have sought safety there.

Zeynadin Ag Malaiga recently returned to Gao. He said when he fled with his wife and children, his house was abandoned and damaged. The repairs to his home have taken months. Everything was ruined, or stolen while he was gone, including the front door.

SOUNDBITE (Local Language) Zeynadin Ak Malaiga, Returned Gao Resident:
“I heard that peace and security had returned to Gao. That's why I decided to come back.”

Many remember the terror under extremist control, but Gao is changing again. In this square, residents were forced to watch public executions. Now they play football. The city still faces insecurity including bomb blasts and attacks, but the will to rebuild is strong.

This metalworker learned his trade in exile. UNHCR, with funding from the European Union is helping him build on those skills and start again here in Gao with a cash grant for returnees.

SOUNDBITE (Local Language) Inta Ak Mohamed, Returned Gao Resident:
“With the money I’m going to buy tools. Also, a sheep or goats to draw milk and maybe later sell one to improve our situation.”

UNHCR support for an irrigation project allows this farm to draw more water from the Niger river. These women cultivate the land together, bringing their crops to market, growing the economy, and slowly nurturing hopes for a better future.

SOUNDBITE (Local Language) Bouchira Touré, President, Bony Ben Association:
“In our group there are some women who sought refuge abroad and others who stayed during the hard times. We all get along well. We are very happy because this group brings us together.”

As the main city in the Malian Sahel, Gao has important basic services to offer returnees as well as refugees and the internally displaced. During the occupation, the hospitals and sanitary facilities were sacked, and equipment was stolen or destroyed.

UNHCR offers support to forcibly displaced Malians, in Mali and neighbouring states, thanks in part to a three-year, 20-million-euro contribution from the European Union which runs through June 2019. Activities include the provision of cash grants, investments in infrastructure, and projects to improve access to education, health and sanitation, as well as job training and economic empowerment. The goal of the project is to help transition from emergency relief to long-term assistance, and to empower Malians, when possible, to make a successful return home.
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UNHCR
Alternate Title
unifeed190320a
Asset ID
2369620