British war planes have been sent to assist French military strikes against Islamist rebels in Mali. The interim president has said the fight to recover the controlled zones will begin without further delay even though many envoys and mediators from the UN and other regional and international bodies said that war cannot start in Mali before September 2013. Security in the country remains worrying and uncertain. It was marked recently by the takeover by Islamist rebels of Konna, a town 55km from Mopti in central Mali. Fear has extended to the towns of Mopti and Sévaré. If Mopti fell, it would plunge 120,000 into the arms of the Islamists. In Bamako and Kati, there have been protests demanding the departure of the Acting President Dioncounda Traoré. The protesters have erected barricades so security has been strengthened at the Presidency and the airport Bamako. Humanitarian and WASH dimensions The humanitarian situation remains serious in Mali with a population of internally displaced people estimated at about 198,558 and more than 200,000 refugees in neighbouring countries. Access to these vulnerable populations in parts of the country remains a challenge. The health situation is deteriorating, with the spread of malaria especially in the region of Timbuktu. Other reports indicate the increasing difficulty of access to safe water, hygiene and sanitation. Internally displaced people in Bamako are increasingly requesting support from mosques. The North and South are facing soaring prices of essential commodities. Impact on the work of WaterAid Mali (WAM) According to findings from resource people and newspapers: Water quality in zones under control has deteriorated (insufficient treatment products) There is lack of drugs to treat patients Some humanitarian organisations with which WAM is partnering continue to provide assistance to the populations that remain in Timbuktu, Gao and Mopti as well as displaced ones. Support is largely focused on the distribution of kits and products for water purification. WaterAid Mali will: Intensify policy influencing work with parliament, technical and financial partners, etc. to include water and sanitation needs Advocate for resources mobilisation. With demonstrations that have taken place being only the run-up to political movements that are expected in the coming days from one political side, WAM has taken security measures not only to ensure the safety of staff but also allow them to continue working from home.