Clarence Briggs, Head of World Vision Mali, emphasizes that children are especially at risk from the violence and displacement it causes, saying “…this latest move has to be managed carefully and those who would like to flee need a guaranteed safe passage out,”
Briggs calls for local governments supporting the counter offensive to remember their duty to children and other innocents, to make sure that they are protected while encounters are taking place and to clear the route for humanitarian organisations like World Vision to get aid into affected areas.
The risk is that children and young people are isolated from parents and caregivers, or “…cramped in refugee camps for weeks on end, not knowing where to go next or when they will be able to begin rebuilding their lives.”
Briggs goes on to say that international humanitarian law and the needs of children must be made first priority throughout the conflict, since 2012 “…was a particularly difficult year for children around the country and the on-going conflict in the north threatens them further.”
To review the crises already in effect, 5 million Malians are currently suffering all three issues of hunger, malnutrition and violence. Figures from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees put the number of people now displaced from their homes at 400,000, but humanitarian organisations watching the mounting situation estimate that this is likely to grow to 700,000 before resolution is found. World Vision calls for the protection of this increasing number of children and communities who will be affected by the offensive.
For more information please visit the World Vision UK site: http://www.worldvision.org.uk or to support emergency campaigns please make a donation (http://www.worldvision.org.uk/