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

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

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