This Week in Restoring Family Links: 8/15/2016 - 8/19/2016

Mbera refugee camp, 50km from the border with Mali, is guarded by Mauritania’s gendarmerie. Photo Credit: Alex Duval Smith.

Mbera refugee camp, 50km from the border with Mali, is guarded by Mauritania’s gendarmerie. Photo Credit: Alex Duval Smith.

Mali: On August 17, it is reported that hundreds of refugees from central Mali, most of them are Fulani nomads and shepherds, have arrived in Mauritania as they fled from the growing conflict in their home country. The arrival of the refugees further put strain on the host country as aid agencies are struggling to assists 42,000 Mali refugees that fled home in 2012. For instance, UNHCR has only secured $3.6 million out of the $15.5 million budget for Mauritania this year to ensure the refugees’ wellbeing. The World Food Programme is having a lot of cuts and reduced rations.

The newest influx of Malian refugees also reported that they were severely abused by the Malian army because they are alleged to be related to the armed opposition, Macina Liberation Front (MLF). However, their report also coincides with report made by Human Rights Watch of the abuse.

In early July, protestors clashed with the police forces after the announcement of the nomination of former armed oppositions acting as interim local government authorities in the north of the country. This event is one of many activities of Malians to showcase their disapproval of the unpopular government, which was established after a military coup that deposed Amadou Toumani Toure – the democratically elected president, thus ending 20 years of democratic political stability.

While northern part of the country attracted a lot of attention, center Mali is going through armed violence from armed opposition clashing with the government and local elites, settling of scores, banditry, and self-defense militias.

In collaboration with the USAID, Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance, and International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), the Mali Red Cross is helping Malian families to regain stability and resilience through the distribution of “livestock, animal feed, seeds, cash, agricultural inputs and income generating activities.”

Photograph of Port Vincent and the Amite River on Sunday, taken during a NOAA Remote Sensing Division aerial photography mission. Photo Credit: NOAA Remote Sensing Division

Photograph of Port Vincent and the Amite River on Sunday, taken during a NOAA Remote Sensing Division aerial photography mission. Photo Credit: NOAA Remote Sensing Division

Louisiana: After the historical flood in Louisiana, called “the worst natural disaster since Hurricane Sandy, it is reported that at least 40,000 homes and 13 people were killed. Furthermore, it is also reported that 8,000 people were in shelters overnight on Monday, at least 34,000 homes and businesses do not have electricity, 40,000 people already applied for federal housing, and no estimation on how many have gone missing.

The flood began on Friday when a torrent of 2 feet of rain immerge the southern part of Louisiana. In a lot of places, houses and properties are reported to be total loss.

In response to the disaster, Red Cross has deployed over 1000 volunteers from over 50 states, D.C., and Puerto Rico to assist those affected by the flood. The organization is also opening and hosting shelters over Louisiana and provide them essential materials, such as clothes, food. For more information, please visit Red Cross website, and people can look for their missing loved one through the registered website hosted by Red Cross.

The Red Cross also asks people to consider donate to help people being affected by the Louisiana flooding. Click here for more information.