ICRC issues urgent appeal for Mali

June 10, 2013 at 10:41 AM

BAMAKO, Mali, June 10 (UPI) -- The humanitarian situation in the north of Mali remains worrying and conflict has taken a toll on the nation's welfare, an ICRC delegate said.

The International Committee of the Red Cross issued a donor appeal Monday to help those Malians suffering from a food crisis and protracted conflict in the north of the country.

"The humanitarian situation in northern Mali remains worrying," regional ICRC director Jean-Nicolas Marti said in a statement.

Military forces from former colonial power France intervened at the request of a Malian government struggling to maintain security and territorial integrity following a coup in 2012. Al-Qaida and rebel fighters who seized northern territory are suspected of committing crimes against humanity.

"The conflict adds to the already serious food crisis, which has made the population extremely vulnerable," Marti said.

Lazare Eloundou-Assomo, a director from the world heritage center at the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, said there were concerns about the durability of cultural heritage sites razed by northern Malian rebels.

He said thousands of historic religious texts were destroyed and at least nine protected mausoleums were ruined in Timbuktu.

"The destruction caused by the systematic attacks against Timbuktu's heritage is deeply distressing," he said in a statement.

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