News / Africa

    UNHCR Fears Worst Yet To Come In Mali Crisis

    A woman prepares a mealat a Malian refugees camp in Chinegodar, western Niger, close to the Malian border, February 4, 2012.
    A woman prepares a mealat a Malian refugees camp in Chinegodar, western Niger, close to the Malian border, February 4, 2012.

    The U.N. refugee agency is warning that a growing refugee crisis in northern Mali is still at an early stage, but says the situation is rapidly deteriorating.  The UNHCR says it is stepping up aid efforts to help thousands of people fleeing clashes between Tuareg rebels and the Malian army into neighboring countries.  

    Supplies arriving

    The U.N. refugee agency reports the first of four scheduled cargo flights, carrying 300 tents, landed in Nema, Mauritania early Friday morning local time.  It says subsequent flights will carry thousands of additional tents destined for Mauritania, Niger and Burkina Faso.

    It also says two trucks carrying 40 tons of sleeping mats, blankets, jerrycans and other basic relief items are currently on the way from Accra, Ghana to Niger.  They are due to arrive by the middle of next week.  The UNHCR says future road convoys are being organized.

    U.N. refugee spokesman Adrian Edwards said the UNHCR is doing its best to respond quickly to the deteriorating situation, which is still unfolding in Mali.  “In the wake of the crisis in Libya last year, there has been this sudden uptick in violence.  We have all seen these reports of the rebels fighting being heavily armed. The full story, I think, is still going to come out of this," he said. "But, clearly, you have gone back to a situation in Mali of rebellion, of violence.  We have seen this before in Mali.  Now, it is having an effect, not just on Mali itself, but across a wide geographic area bringing in several countries.”  

    Hundreds return to Mali

    Hundreds of Tuaregs recently returned to Mali from Libya.  Many had fought alongside troops loyal to former Libyan dictator, Moammar Gaddafi and they returned home carrying tons of weaponry from the Libyan conflict.  Upon their return they renewed a long-simmering rebellion against the Malian government with a series of attacks on towns in north Mali on January 17.

    Since then, the UNHCR says about 30,000 people have fled into Niger, Burkina Faso and Mauritania.  Spokesman Edwards says it is important to note that not all these people are refugees or asylum seekers.  With Niger, for example, he says some of those returning are Niger nationals who have been working in Mali for some time.  

    “You also have in Burkina Faso, for example, people who are from Mali, but have lived in Burkina Faso doing business there.  They are now bringing their families out of Mali.  So, it is a mixed migration.… but, it is rising in numbers quite rapidly.  These are impoverished areas.  There are food, there are water shortages already, particularly in northern Niger.  It is a situation that does need aid.  It does need addressing pretty fast,” Edwards stated. 

    Edwards notes UNHCR’s mandate relates primarily to helping refugees and asylum seekers.  But, he says the agency normally also provides aid to local people so as not to create hostility within host communities who are likely to be poor and in need of assistance, as well.

    He says the fighting in northern Mali and the resulting refugee crisis will likely get worse, adding to the region's woes.

    You May Like

    Video For Many US Veterans, the Vietnam War Continues

    More than 40 years after it ended, war in Vietnam and America’s role in it continue to provoke bitter debate, especially among those who fought in it

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    100 immigrants graduated Friday as US citizens in New York, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in cities across country

    Family's Fight Pays Off With Arlington Cemetery Burial Rights for WASPs

    Policy that allowed the Women Airforce Service Pilots veterans to receive burial rites at Arlington had been revoked in 2015

    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.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora