News / Africa

Malian Refugees Face Increasing Risks

Multimedia

Audio
TEXT SIZE - +
Joe DeCapua
The aid group Oxfam warns as fighting escalates in northern Mali, the plight of refugees is expected to get worse. It says current humanitarian operations could be overwhelmed unless major changes are made to meet growing demands.


In the past year, nearly 150,000 people have fled to Burkina Faso, Mauritania and Niger. But while they sought safe haven in those countries, Oxfam says the refugees face increasing threats to their safety and well-being.

“In general, the situation is not good in refugee camps. If we can say that essential and basic needs have been met, there’s still lots of work to be done,” said Ilaria Allegrozzi, the group’s policy and campaign manager, who is in the capital, Bamako.

Especially, she said, regarding nutrition, education and protection.

“Up to 21 percent of children in refugee camps are malnourished, which is definitely very, very high,” she said.

The warning threshold set by the World Health Organization is 15 percent. The 21 percent figure was reported at a camp in Niger.

“There’s a major shortfall in the provision of primary education. And this really puts children at further risk. In Mauritania, only 12 percent of the refugees of primary school age have been enrolled in M’bera camp in Mauritania,” she said.

Allegrozzi said that forced recruitment of the refugees by armed groups has also been a problem.

“It’s a concern. It’s a risk, as well as sexual violence for girls and women. Living in a refugee camp is not easy and people can be exposed to any sort of security incident and human rights threat,” she said.

The neighboring countries hosting the Malian refugees have faced some hard times in recent years themselves.

“Burkina Faso, Mauritania and Niger are very fragile countries in terms of the political situation, the security situation, but also in terms of the humanitarian situation. In 2012, there was a very serious food crisis, which affected all the Sahel countries, including those where refugees are now hosted. So resources have been affected. People have been affected. Communities have been made more vulnerable. Now, sharing resources is definitely a challenge,” she said.

Allegrozzi added that Oxfam is calling for a “significant shift in the way humanitarian operations are carried out.”

“The main challenge would be to ensure more coordination among humanitarian agencies operating in Mauritania, in Niger, in Burkina Faso, so that assistance can be delivered to those in need," he said.

Oxfam is also calling on all military forces in Mali to “respect and receive training in international humanitarian and human rights law” to help ensure the protection of civilians.

You May Like

War Legacy Haunts Vietnam, US Relations

US congressional delegation initiates $84 million Agent Orange cleanup project More

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid