Aid for Mali's Refugees
By: Tony Cece
Operation Blessing International
MALI – In Bamako, the capital city of Mali, life appears normal at first glance, but as you look below the surface you find that the city's balance has been altered by crisis in northern Mali.
Civil war has displaced over a quarter million people, many of whom are now seeking refuge—shifting the balance in Bamako, surrounding cities and neighboring countries. This shift has put an extra burden on the people and also the government as they work to find areas where these families can take shelter, but the impact is felt the most by the families themselves.
They have fled their homes, jobs and every sense of normalcy as they try to keep their families safe from harm. Most can't find work and if they do, it leaves someone in the city without a job. Life has become very difficult, and they need help just to provide food for their families.
CBN's Operation Blessing arrived in Mali this week (February 11, 2013) to work with our partners on the ground to help relieve the suffering of the men, women and children that now bear the name of internally displaced persons—refugees in their own country.
While gathering food supplies in Bamako, we felt the busy pace of the city. We foster relationships everywhere we go, so we talked, bartered, and laughed with folks along the busy streets as we loaded a large truck with three tons of rice and beans to take to camps in the city of Niamana. Many of the families in these camps have fled from Timbuktu and Gao, both places where fighting has taken place very recently. On Friday, nerves were tense as there had been incidents in Gao and in Bamako near the hotel where we were staying, but nothing like the scenes that these families have faced over the past year.
As we delivered supplies, it was good to see the children smiling and seemingly unaware of the drastic change in life that their parents were facing. Two-year-old Aisha was giggling and laughing uncontrollably as her mother played with her during the distribution. But for most parents, spirits were not as high as they are enduring unexpected hardships as a direct result of the war. Their lives have been completely changed and they have already lost so much to this war.
For most of the children, home is wherever their parents are, but for the women we met—this was not considered home. These families taking refuge, mainly women and children, need your prayer and support during this critical time. CBN's Operation Blessing is here to serve on your behalf.
May God bless you and His precious children here in Mali.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
You can help by making an online donation toward CBN’s Operation Blessing International’s disaster relief efforts. With your support, we can continue to provide emergency relief and recovery. Please make an online donation today.
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