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

ASEAN Ministers Set to Push for South China Sea Agreements

According to documents obtained by VOA Khmer, ministers will stand up for 'freedom of navigation, unimpeded lawful maritime commerce, trade and over flight' More

Puerto Rico Defaults on $58M Debt Payment

Payment was due Saturday, default is first in country's 117 years as a United States possession More

Turkish Public Fears Jihadists More Than Kurds

Turkey facing twin threats of terrorism by Islamic State and PKK Kurdish separatists, says President Erdogan’s ruling AK Party More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Communityi
X
Sharon Behn
August 03, 2015 2:23 PM
A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Community

A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Bangkok Warned It Soon Could Be Submerged

Italy's Venice and America's New Orleans are not the only cities gradually submerging. The nearly ten million residents of the Bangkok urban area now must confront warnings the city could become uninhabitable in a few decades. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Thai capital.
Video

Video Inclusive Gym Gets People With Disabilities in Fitness Spirit

Individuals with special needs are 58 percent more likely to be obese than the general population. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, they also have an increased likelihood of anxiety, depression and social isolation. But a sports club outside Washington wants to make a difference in these people's lives. With Carol Pearson narrating, VOA's June Soh reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Special Olympics Show Competitors' Skill, Determination

Special Olympics competitions will wrap up Saturday in Los Angeles, and the closing ceremony for athletes with intellectual disabilities will be held Sunday night. In a week of competition, athletes have shown what they can do through skill and determination. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Shooter’s Grill: Serving Food with a Touch of the Second Amendment

Shooter's Grill, a restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, attracts visitors from all over the world as well as local patrons. The reason? Waitresses openly carry loaded firearms as they serve food, and customers are welcome to carry them, too. VOA's Enming Liu and Lin Yang paid a visit to Shooter's Grill, and heard different opinions about this unique establishment.
Video

Video Despite Controversy, Business Owner Continues Sale of Confederate Flags

At Cooter’s, a store in rural Sperryville, Virginia, about 120 kilometers west of Washington, D.C., Confederate flags are flying off the shelves. The red, white and blue battle flag, with 13 white stars representing the Confederate states, was carried by southern forces during the U.S. Civil War in the 1860s. The South had seceded from the Union over several key issues of disagreement, including slavery. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs