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

    Video Pop Icon Prince Quietly Helped Afghan Orphans for Years

    He sent thousands of dollars to help an aid group rebuild a training center for orphan boy and girl scouts in Kabul, but kept his involvement secret

    Mali, a Way Station for Syrians Headed to Europe

    Another door may be closing for Syrians fleeing the conflict in their country, this time in Africa

    Britain’s Muslims See London Mayor Race as Victory

    Mere running of 45-year-old former government minister and son of Pakistani immigrants Sadiq Khan seen by many as turning point

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

    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.
    Donations Rescue Afghan Parents, Children From Forced Labori
    X
    May 05, 2016 6:44 PM
    A Facebook campaign organized by a VOA radio host raised 150,000 Afghan rupees to rescue a family from forced labor at a brick kiln in Nangarhar province – the result of the father’s unpaid debt. Video by a VOA reporter in Jalalabad went viral this week and triggered the Facebook campaign.
    Video

    Video Donations Rescue Afghan Parents, Children From Forced Labor

    A Facebook campaign organized by a VOA radio host raised 150,000 Afghan rupees to rescue a family from forced labor at a brick kiln in Nangarhar province – the result of the father’s unpaid debt. Video by a VOA reporter in Jalalabad went viral this week and triggered the Facebook campaign.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Troops Recount Firefight Which Killed US Navy SEAL

    A U.S. Navy SEAL killed Tuesday, when Islamic State fighters punched through Kurdish lines in northern Iraq, was part of a quick reaction force sent to extract other U.S. troops trapped by the surprise offensive. VOA's Kawa Omar spoke with Kurdish troops in the town of Telskuf -- the scene of what U.S. officials called a "dynamic firefight."
    Video

    Video British Lawmakers Warn EU Exit Talks Could Last A Decade

    Leaving the European Union would mean difficult negotiations that could take years to complete, according to a bipartisan group of British lawmakers. While the group did not recommend a vote either way, the lawmakers noted trade deals between the EU and non-EU states take between four and nine years on average. Henry Ridgwell reports on the mounting debate over whether Britain should stay or exit the EU as the June vote approaches.
    Video

    Video NASA Astronauts Train for Commercial Space Flights

    Since the last Shuttle flight in 2011, the United States has been relying on Russian rockets to launch fresh crews to the International Space Station. But that may change in the next few years. NASA and several private space companies are developing advanced capsules capable of taking humans into low orbit and beyond. As VOA's George Putic reports, astronauts are already training for commercial spacecraft in flight simulators.
    Video

    Video US Worried Political Chaos in Iraq Will Hurt IS Fight

    The White House is expressing concern about rising political chaos in Iraq and the impact it could have on the fight against the Islamic State. The U.S. says Iraq needs a stable, central government to help push back the group. But some say Baghdad may not have a unified government any time soon. VOA's White House correspondent Mary Alice Salinas reports.
    Video

    Video Press Freedom in Myanmar Fragile, Limited

    As Myanmar begins a new era with a democratically elected government, many issues of the past confront the new leadership. Among them is press freedom in a country where journalists have been routinely harassed or jailed.
    Video

    Video Taliban Threats Force Messi Fan to Leave Afghanistan

    A young Afghan boy, who recently received autographed shirts and a football from his soccer hero Lionel Messi, has fled his country due to safety concerns. He and his family are now taking refuge in neighboring Pakistan. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from Islamabad.
    Video

    Video Major Rubbish Burning Experiment Captures Destructive Greenhouse Gases

    The world’s first test to capture environmentally harmful carbon dioxide gases from the fumes of burning rubbish took place recently in Oslo, Norway. The successful experiment at the city's main incinerator plant, showcased a method for capturing most of the carbon dioxide. VOA’s Deborah Block has more.
    Video

    Video EU Visa Block Threatens To Derail EU-Turkey Migrant Deal

    Turkish citizens could soon benefit from visa-free travel to Europe as part of the recent deal between the EU and Ankara to stem the flow of refugees. In return, Turkey has pledged to keep the migrants on Turkish soil and crack down on those who are smuggling them. Brussels is set to publish its latest progress report Wednesday — but as Henry Ridgwell reports from London, many EU lawmakers are threatening to veto the deal over human rights concerns.
    Video

    Video Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Ruling

    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Painting Captures President Lincoln Assassination Aftermath

    A newly restored painting captures the moments following President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in 1865. It was recently unveiled at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, where America’s 16th president was shot. It is the only known painting by an eyewitness that captures the horror of that fateful night. VOA’s Julie Taboh tells us more about the painting and what it took to restore it to its original condition.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora