GENEVA, Switzerland, May 2, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Internally displaced persons (IDPs) are continuing to leave Bamako and other cities to return to previously unsafe northern parts of Mali, mainly due to fewer security concerns, according to IOM’s latest Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM).
The estimated number of IDPs nationwide is now about 137,000 – down 31 per cent from the nearly 200,000 reported in February. The total number of returnees to northern areas rose from around 196,000 in February to nearly 284,000 in April.
In the south, Bamako region continues to host the largest number of displaced people (40,733). Another 17,727 are in Koulikoro and 10,440 in Segou. In the north, the largest number of IDPs are in Timbuktu (29,279), Gao (16,729) and Kidal (11,245).
IOM worked with Mali’s Directorate of Social Development (DNDS) and the General Directorate of Civil Protection (DGPC) to assess how many people had moved back to Gao and Timbuktu regions and the likely impact.
The exercise was also carried out for the first time in Mopti and Kidal regions. In Kidal, of the six communes evaluated by IOM partner NGO Solidarités Internationale, only two communes were identified as return areas.
The increase in the number of returnees recorded by the April DTM was primarily attributed to improved security, but also to IOM’s ability to now collect data from more return areas.
The report also provides information on IDP needs nationwide. Some 45 per cent of households surveyed needed food, 18 per cent needed shelter, 13 per cent needed employment and 7 per cent said that they needed transport assistance to get back to their places of origin.
The report also includes the results of a needs assessment performed in villages hosting high numbers of IDPs and returnees, including 36 villages in Gao, 30 in Timbuktu and 41 in Mopti. Some 71 per cent of respondents said that food was their most urgent need. Another 14 per cent said water and sanitation.
“The rapid increase in the number of IDPs returning to their areas of origin needs to be followed up by adequate support to avoid secondary displacement. After two years of displacement, IDPs are returning to areas where living conditions are worse than they were before they left in terms of food shortages, damaged or destroyed houses, less water and degraded basic infrastructure,” said IOM mali Chief of Mission Bakary Doumbia.
IOM’s DTM activities are carried in close coordination with the Malian government and with funding from the Office of US Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) and the Government of Japan.
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