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.

TEXT SIZE - +
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

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 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.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid