Malian authorities are scrambling to find alternative shelter for thousands of people who lost their homes in recent floods, more than half of whom are currently living in school buildings.
“It’s an aspect [of the crisis] that does not attract people’s attention but it’s a problem all the same,” said Idrissa Traoré, chief of operations for the Malian Red Cross.
Since the beginning of July, flooding has swept right across Mali – from the western region of Kayes along the border with Senegal to the central regions of Ségou and Mopti, destroying hundreds of homes and killing up to 15 people according to the Malian government.
More than 32,000 people have been made homeless, according to the head of Mali’s civil protection service, Col. Mamadou Traoré.
“The problem now is where to put the 15-18,000 people who are in schools,” Traoré told IRIN on 17 August from the hardest hit region, Ségou, where he met United Nations officials who distributed food, water purification tablets, blankets and clothes in the town of Bla. Schools in Mali are supposed to reopen on 15 September
Traoré said the government wants to move the people out of the schools into tents. “The need is real,” he said, adding that the tents will be especially important if the rains continue.
Traoré said the government will also identify areas safe for living, and begin building new homes in those regions by the beginning of October.
This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions