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 Rubio Looks to Surge in New Hampshire

    Republican presidential candidate has moved into second place in several recent surveys and appears to be gaining ground on longtime frontrunner Donald Trump

    UN Calls for Global Ban on Female Genital Mutilation

    Recent UNICEF report finds at least 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone female genital mutilation in 30 countries

    UN Pilots New Peace Approach in CAR

    Approach launched in northern town of Kaga Bandoro, where former combatants of mainly Muslim Seleka armed group and Christian and animist anti-Balaka movement are being paid to do community work

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.