News / Africa

Conditions Getting Worse for Mali Refugees

  • The Mbera refugee camp for Malian refugees, March 2, 2013. (Nyani Quarmyne/MSF)
  • A child sits atop a truck loaded with Malian refugees and their belongings on the edge of the M'Berra refugee camp in Mauritania, March 6, 2013. (Nyani Quarmyne/MSF)
  • Houmou Ag Mamili, who was registered as having arrived in the the Mbera camp for Malian refugees in Mauritania in November, had still not received a tent on March 11, 2013. (Nyani Quarmyne/MSF)
  • A recently arrived refugee from Mali is helped to load her rations of rice, oil and sugar onto a pick-up at the M'Berra refugee camp for Malian refugees in southeastern Mauritania, March 2, 2013. (Nyani Quarmyne/MSF)
  • A structure used to store animal fodder at the Mbera refugee camp in southeastern Mauritania, March 1, 2013. (Nyani Quarmyne/MSF)
Some 70,000 refugees from northern Mali are stranded in the Mauritanian desert with little hope of a quick return home, according to a report by Doctors Without Borders.
Jennifer Lazuta
Despite the military success of the now three month-old French-led intervention in northern Mali, aid agencies say the situation of more than 450,000 Malian refugees and IDPs is getting worse, not better.

International aid organizations are calling for ramped up assistance for displaced Malians who have fled the north in the past 16 months and don’t look to be returning home any time soon.

Valery Mbaoh Nana is the spokesperson for the International Committee of the Red Cross in Bamako. “What is going on now, in northern Mali now, unfortunately, is not very good.  We’ve witnessed some security problems in some major cities, like Gao, in the past weeks," Nana said. "And that makes these IDPs afraid to go back home.  They are expecting to have a better security situation before they go back home.”

Click to EnlargeClick to Enlarge
x
Click to Enlarge
Click to Enlarge
​Fighting continues in northern Mali, even though French and Malian troops have driven Islamist militants from the towns they once controlled.

Since French and Malian troops liberated the town of Gao on Jan. 27, there have multiple suicide bombings and raids by jihadist fighters.  

The U.N. refugee agency says about 180,000 Malians have fled to Mauritania, Niger and Burkina Faso, many of them to makeshift refugee camps.  However, the vast majority leaving the north --  280,000 people -- fled south inside Mali, many of them staying with relatives and friends, others simply living outdoors.  

Karl Nawezi is the Doctors Without Borders’ director in Mauritania, where he said many of the 70,000 Malians at the Mbera refugee camp still lack basic necessities like adequate food, clean water and shelter.

“In January the camp received more than 15,000 people coming from Mali because of the military operations that started, and now the conditions are not so good in the camp.  I think that efforts have been made in order to make sure that people receive all the things that they need for their life, but the situation is really dependent on humanitarian aid,” Nawezi explained.

He said refugees at Mbera camp are currently surviving on the bare minimum.

In some parts of the camp, there are four latrines for every 12,000 people.  He said many families are living in makeshift tents.

Nawezi said the number of children suffering from severe malnutrition has more than doubled since January.  This is despite the fact that 85 percent of the new children arrived at the camp in good health.

As displaced Malians settle in for the long haul, aid workers say they need to scale up assistance to prevent this humanitarian crisis from getting even worse.

You May Like

Analyst: Joint-Arab Military Force Poses Perilous Challenge

Although international forces are desperately needed to counter the threat of the Islamic State group, analysts say conflicting alliances could escalate fighting More

Asia’s Middle Class Changes Demand for Wheat Grain Exporters

Changes in tastes and diets are boon for wheat exporters such as Australia and the United States More

S. African Comedian Taking Over Popular TV Show

Mixed-race comedian Trevor Noah, who is loved for his edgy jibes about race and language, is taking the helm from Jon Stewart at The Daily Show in US More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadistsi
X
Greg Flakus
March 30, 2015 6:48 PM
At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video With Coalition Airstrikes, Iraq Entering 'Last Page' of IS Battle

American warplanes joined Iraq's battle against the so-called 'Islamic State' in northern Iraq late Wednesday, as Iraqi ground troops launched a massive assault on Tikrit. Analysts say the offensive could take the coalition a step further towards Mosul, the largest city held by Islamic State forces. Others say it could also deepen already-dangerous sectarian tensions in the region. VOA's Heather Murdock has more from Cairo.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Hi-tech Motorbike Helmet's Goal: Improve Road Safety

In cities with heavily congested traffic, people can get around much faster on a motorcycle than in a car. But a rider who is not sure of his route may have to stop to look at the map or consult a GPS. A Russian start-up company is working to make navigation easier for motorcyclists. Designers at Moscow-based LiveMap are developing a smart helmet with a built-in navigation system, head-mounted display and voice recognition. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video DOJ: Illinois National Guard Soldier Tried to Join ISIS

U.S. federal law enforcement agents arrested two suburban Chicago men accused of trying to join ISIS overseas, while also plotting attacks in the United States. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports from the Midwest state of Illinois, one of those arrested is a soldier of the Illinois National Guard.
Video

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Traditional push-rim wheelchairs create a lot of stress for arm, shoulder and neck muscles and joints. A redesigned chair, based on readily available bicycle technology, radically increases mobility while reducing the physical effort. VOA’s George Putic reports.
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 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.

VOA Blogs

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