Posted on August 03, 2012

Mali Red Cross (MRC) and Qatar Red Crescent (QRC) have signed an agreement to launch joint humanitarian activities to assist crisis-affected communities in northern Mali suffering from drought and conflict.

Led by MRC president Cissé Abdul Rahman and QRC president Mohamed bin Ghanem al-Ali al-Maadheed, the signing ceremony concluded the Malian delegation’s three-day visit to QRC’s headquarters in Doha, where the two organisations discussed areas of future collaboration and mutual support in Mali.

Dr al-Maadheed, who is also vice-president of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), pledged the QRC’s commitment to the MRC and the people of Mali, saying: “QRC is extremely concerned about the worsening food crisis in the Sahel region, and in Mali specifically. With rising food prices, severe water shortages and the ongoing violence, the people of this region need help to survive”.

He added: “As a humanitarian organisation, and a member of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, it is our duty to support the Mali Red Cross in helping the people of Mali during these difficult times.”

Through the partnership agreement, QRC has committed to provide direct financial, logistical and human resource support to MRC to strengthen its ability to address the increasing needs of the Malian people, specifically those affected by drought and violence in the North.

Qatar Airways Network

“The Mali Red Cross thanks the Qatar Red Crescent for its support and for its initiative as one of the first [Red Cross Red Crescent] National Societies to come to our crisis-affected areas in the North,” said Abdul Rahman. Abdul Rahman also called for assistance in facing Mali’s current situation.

He said: “The humanitarian needs of our people are great, and we can’t face them alone. We call on the humanitarian community to turn their attention to Mali.”

For its part, MRC has agreed to facilitate QRC’s presence in Mali and to support the implementation of joint projects with the help of its staff and volunteers. The two organisations agreed to co-lead a steering committee to implement and evaluate joint humanitarian projects, which will address the needs of vulnerable communities in a variety of sectors.

In late June, QRC deployed a four-person emergency response team to the town of Gao in North Mali. The purpose of the humanitarian mission was to distribute food aid to 1,000 households and conduct an assessment of the population’s needs regarding water, health and food security.

“As a result of our humanitarian mission to Gao, QRC has identified a number of immediate needs within the population. The most urgent among these include access to secondary healthcare and safe drinking water,” said Dr Amer Melhem, head of QRC’s Disaster Management Unit. Dr Melhem added that food distribution will continue to be a priority for future projects.

In working together to address the identified needs in northern Mali, QRC and MRC are committed to respecting and protecting at all times the Seven Fundamental Principles of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement – humanity, impartiality, neutrality, independence, voluntary service, unity and universality.

source: Gulf Times