The Malian Red Cross said Saturday it was able to transport five tonnes of supplies and medicine to Timbuktu, in the grip of a humanitarian crisis after being seized by rebels.
"We took five tonnes of supplies and rice, to the Timbuktu hospital, mats, blankets, but also medicine," Red Cross president Adam Diarra told AFP after leaving the fabled city where the team arrived on Thursday.
"There is an emergency," in the city which fell into the hands of Tuareg rebels and armed Islamists ten days after a coup ousted Mali's president Amadou Toumani Toure on March 22, Diarra said.
"There is a need for food, the reorganisation of the distribution of drinking water, electricity. There are numbers of displaced who need urgent assistance," he added.
He said the armed groups had confirmed their agreement to open a "humanitarian corridor" which they had accepted on principle provided supplies do not originate from France or the United States.
"We are going to organise ourselves rapidly. The different groups have accepted the idea of a humanitarian corridor, we will send them a letter very soon to formalise all of that. We will assist Timbuktu, but also other regions in the north."© ANP/AFP