Mali: Report from the heart of the Targada displaced persons site

For more than 10 years, the Gao region in northern Mali has faced a constantly deteriorating security situation. The intensification of the conflict is forcing thousands of families to leave their villages, which are the prey of numerous attacks by armed groups operating in the region. In the Ansongo circle, the majority of these displaced people are seeking refuge on the outskirts of the town of Ansongo, in sites for displaced people. Première Urgence Internationale is particularly active at the Targada site, where it is deploying a mobile clinic to guarantee displaced populations access to free health and psychosocial support services.

The Première Urgence Internationale mobile clinic doctor in consultation at the Targada site (Ansongo circle, Gao region, Mali) / © Studio 360 – Mali



The cercle of Ansongo, located in the Gao region of Mali, faces a complex situation marked by numerous humanitarian and security challenges. Since 2012, insecurity has remained one of the main issues in this border area with Niger and Burkina Faso, due to the activism of armed groups present in the area. The increasing number of incidents in the region has prompted many people to leave their homes and seek refuge in the towns least targeted by armed group attacks. This is the case of the town of Ansongo, which now hosts nearly 10,000 displaced people – an increase of over 45% compared to May 2022.

Due to repeated attacks by armed groups on the commune of Tin-Hamma, where she lived with her family, Zeinab was forced to flee, leaving all her belongings behind: “When I left Tin-Hamma, I left with my seven children. We walked over fifty kilometers to Ansongo. When we got here, we had nothing.

Zeinab and her son in their shelter at the Targada site (cercle d’Ansongo, Gao region, Mali) / © Studio 360 – Mali

When they have no relatives to welcome them in town, displaced people gather on the outskirts, living in temporary shelters where they face a situation of great vulnerability. Living conditions on these sites are difficult, and diseases such as malnutrition, respiratory infections and water-borne diseases are widespread. The commune of Ansongo is home to several sites for displaced people, including the Targada site, where almost 4,000 people are living in very precarious conditions, having fled their communes and villages due to insecurity.

Since the end of December 2022, more than 2,500 people have moved to the Targada site after fleeing, like Zeinab and her son, the commune of Tin-Hamma – a locality repeatedly attacked by armed groups.



As soon as she arrived at the Targada site, Zeinab met the Première Urgence Internationale teams: “The day we arrived, I was sick. I was taken to the mobile clinic where I was treated until I was healthy again.”

The Première Urgence Internationale mobile clinic doctor in consultation at the Targada site (Ansongo circle, Gao region, Mali) / © Studio 360 – Mali

Première Urgence Internationale operates in Targada to meet the urgent health needs of the local population. The deployment of a mobile clinic, staffed by a doctor, a midwife, a nurse and a community mobilizer, provides free medical and nutritional care to displaced people.

Like Zeinab, Maimouna also had to flee the commune of Tin-Hamma with her children to seek refuge on the Targada site. “I was told about a health team on the site. I went to see them, it was the Première Urgence Internationale mobile clinic. Their team made me feel very welcome. I was taken for a consultation and received free medication”, says Maimouna, who was suffering from a respiratory infection and was able to benefit from free treatment and medication.

Maimouna and her daughter in their shelter at the Targada site (Ansongo circle, Gao region, Mali) / © Studio 360 – Mali

Given the extreme vulnerability of the displaced individuals gathered at the Targada site, and their life experiences marked by years of conflict and insecurity, the mobile clinic teams also include clinical psychologists, who provide free psychosocial support services.

Thanks to the presence of Première Urgence Internationale in Targada, displaced families no longer need to travel to health centers located several tens of kilometers away from the site, as Maimouna explains: “I am really thankful to Première Urgence Internationale because, thanks to the mobile clinic, we have easy access to healthcare and no longer need to travel to health centers.”

Première Urgence Internationale’s activities in the Ansongo district are carried out thanks to financial support from the European Union.

Find out more about our humanitarian actions in Mali.

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