News / Africa

Higher Number of Internally Displaced Malians Revealed

Refugees from the Malian town of Timbuktu, which is now under the control of Islamist forces, pose for a picture at their private accommodation in the West African country's capital Bamako September 8, 2012.Refugees from the Malian town of Timbuktu, which is now under the control of Islamist forces, pose for a picture at their private accommodation in the West African country's capital Bamako September 8, 2012.
x
Refugees from the Malian town of Timbuktu, which is now under the control of Islamist forces, pose for a picture at their private accommodation in the West African country's capital Bamako September 8, 2012.
Refugees from the Malian town of Timbuktu, which is now under the control of Islamist forces, pose for a picture at their private accommodation in the West African country's capital Bamako September 8, 2012.

Multimedia

Audio
Kim Lewis
There are more displaced people in northern Mali than previously believed. New data from the United Nations Refugee Agency, UNHCR, reveal that at least 204,000 people are currently displaced. Previously, the group reported 119,000 IDPs.  

UNHCR spokesperson Helene Caux said the increase in the reported number of IDPS is a reflection of a number of factors.

“The main factor is that our partner, the Commission on Population Movement in Mali, had better access to areas in northern Mali to be able to count the IDPs, thanks to better funding - which means they had more human resources to go to these places and be able to count the people," said Caux.  "The second reason is that probably more people have been displaced since they left their homes because of the insecurity in the north, so that also explains the difference in the number."

Caux added that because of the insecurity in northern Mali, it is very difficult for aid agencies to access people there.  As a result, UNHCR is getting its information from people who are actually leaving the north, as well as refugees, who are fleeing to Burkina Faso, Niger and Mauritania.

“What these people are telling us is that basically there is general insecurity, that the security is deteriorating.  A lot of them are fleeing in anticipation of possible new fighting between the various groups operating in northern Mali because of the loss of livelihood.  Also, they have nothing to do there, they’ve lost their jobs.  There is limited capacity to have access to basic services.  But also, they fear an imminent military operation in northern Mali,” said Caux.

Another big concern is insecurity in neighboring countries Niger and Burkina Faso, to where many from northern Mali have fled.

“It’s harder and harder for aid workers to be able to access the camps.  There are risks of kidnapping, of abductions.  So that makes it much harder for people like us, UNHCR, but also other aid agencies, to travel freely to refugee camps.  We need armed escorts, which means also more funding to be able to pay armed escorts.  And also, logistically speaking, it’s much heavier to be able to move to the camps with escorts,” explained Caux.

The UNHCR has made a request for $153 million for additional funding for those people displaced as well as for refugees, but so far only 41 percent of that amount has been received from the international community.

“So that means that there are several activities we’re not able to fund, especially education.  Like you know the school has not started yet in the camps, which means because we are not able for the moment to offer proper structures.  So that means the kids, and especially adolescent boys, are left without doing anything.  We are really fearing that, you know, some of them might go back to Mali and get recruited by various armed groups in exchange of money,” said Caux.

For now, the UNHCR continues to work to provide assistance and protection to those fleeing northern Mali, an area overtaken by general insecurity.

You May Like

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

Euro falls after European Central Bank announces a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program More

Saudi King’s Death Clears Succession Route

Prince Mohammed Bin Nayef is Saudi Arabia's New Crown Prince-in-waiting More

Cloud Hangs Over US Counterterrorism Efforts in Yemen

Sources say resignations of Yemen's president, government has left US anti-terror operations 'paralyzed,' yet an American military 'footprint' remains More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youthi
X
Julie Taboh
January 23, 2015 11:08 PM
Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.
Video

Video US Marching Bands Grow Into a Show of Their Own

The 2014 Super Bowl halftime show was the most-watched in history - attracting an estimated 115 million viewers. That event featured pop star Bruno Mars. But the halftime show tradition started with marching bands, which still dominate the entertainment at U.S. high school and college American football games. But as Enming Liu reports in this story narrated by Adrianna Zhang, marching bands have grown into a show of their own.
Video

Video Secular, Religious Kurds Face Off in Southeast Turkey

Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast has been rocked by violence between religious and secular Kurds. Dorian Jones reports on the reasons behind the stand-off from the region's main city of Diyarbakir, which suffered the bloodiest fighting.
Video

Video Kenya: Misuse of Antibiotics Leading to Resistance by Immune System

In Kenya, the rise of drug resistant bacteria could reverse the gains made by medical science over diseases that were once treatable. Kenyans could be at risk of fatalities as a result if the power in antibiotics is not preserved. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story from Nairobi.
Video

Video Solar-Powered Plane Getting Ready to Circumnavigate Globe

Pilots of the solar plane that already set records flying without a drop of fuel are close to making their first attempt to fly the craft around the globe. They plan to do it in 25 flying days over a five month period. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video How Experts Decide Ethiopia Has the Best Coffee

Ethiopia’s coffee has been ranked as the best in the world by an international group of coffee connoisseurs. Not surprisingly, coffee is a top export for the country. But at home it is a source of pride. Marthe van der Wolf in Addis Ababa decided to find out what makes the bean and brew so special and how experts make their determinations.
Video

Video Yazidi Refugees at Center of Political Fight Between Turkey, Kurds

The treatment of thousands of Yazidis refugees who fled to Turkey to escape attacks by Islamic State militants has become the center of a dispute between the Turkish government and the country's pro-Kurdish movement. VOA's Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video World’s Richest 1% Forecast to Own More Than Half of Global Wealth

The combined wealth of the world's richest 1 percent will overtake that of the remaining 99 percent at some point in 2016, according to the anti-poverty charity Oxfam. Campaigners are demanding that policymakers take action to address the widening gap between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid