News / Africa

UNHCR Predicts Another 700,000 Displaced in Mali

People on donkey-drawn carts cross a strategic bridge over a dam on the Niger River secured by French forces in Markala, Mali, January 18, 2013.
People on donkey-drawn carts cross a strategic bridge over a dam on the Niger River secured by French forces in Markala, Mali, January 18, 2013.
Lisa Schlein
The U.N. refugee agency says it expects another 700,000 people will be uprooted by the conflict in Mali in the coming months.  The UNHCR says this number includes hundreds of thousands of people inside Mali who were forced out of their homes, and additional hundreds of thousands who fled the country and are now refugees.

The 700,000 uprooted Malians are in addition to nearly 375,000 people already displaced inside Mali and in neighboring countries.  The U.N. refugee agency says refugee numbers have been rising steadily since the fighting began between French forces and Islamist militants in the central part of the country.  
 
UNHCR spokeswoman Melissa Fleming says people are fleeing the fighting and the region occupied by the Islamists at a rate of about 3,000 a day.  She says the refugees are giving horrific accounts of living under the rule of rebel Islamic fighters.
 
“Many also fear the strict application of Sharia law.  They report having witnessed executions, amputations and they say that also large amounts of money are being offered to civilians to fight against the Malian army and its supporters," she said. "Disturbingly also, we are hearing accounts that there are children among the rebel fighters.  They are certainly not there willingly.  Also, people are very distressed and saying that family members have just disappeared.”  
 
Fleming says there are those who take advantage of desperate people in every situation of crisis.  And, Mali is no exception.  
 
She says refugees are telling aid workers that people are offering transport out of the country at exorbitant fees and this is discouraging many more people from leaving.  
 
“They say that they have to pay the equivalent of $50.00 to get out.  For many, that is equivalent to more than a month’s earnings," Fleming noted. "Most are women and children and others, they say are on their way by foot, using donkeys, local transportation… All of them say that they hope that this military intervention will be successful, short-lived and some people for that reason are waiting before they make the decision to flee across borders.”  
 
France launched its military operation in northern Mali a week ago after a rapid advance by Islamist rebels.  French authorities say they also want to stop their former colony from becoming a terrorist state.
 
Meanwhile, the French defense minister says his country has increased the number of troops in Mali from 800 to 1,400.  Troops from other West African nations have begun arriving in Mali to bolster the French offensive.  
 
The UNHCR says it is urgently reinforcing its staff and resources for Mali to assist the growing numbers of internally displaced and refugees.

You May Like

China’s Influence Grows With New Infrastructure Bank

Multibillion-dollar China-backed and BRICS-supported Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank seen as possible challenger to such lenders as IMF, World Bank More

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

Rabbi Michel Serfaty makes the rounds in his friendship bus to encourage dialogue and break down barriers between the two groups More

Post-deal Iran Leaders Need 'Economic Momentum' to Solidify

Economists say deal could inject more than $100 billion into coffers - not enough to entirely rescue ailing economy - but maybe adequate to create 'economic momentum' More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Rastas
January 20, 2013 7:16 AM
Where was the UNHCR on Zimbabwe? Murambatsvina ring any bells.Hmm didnt think so.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Gay Marriage Ruling Yields Real-life Impacti
X
Michael Bowman
June 28, 2015 10:05 PM
Friday’s landmark Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the United States is an outcome few thought possible just years ago, and shows a nation that increasingly tolerates and even celebrates the hopes and aspirations of gay people. VOA’s Michael Bowman spoke to a same-sex couple that will benefit from the high court ruling, and to a Christian scholar who is apprehensive about its potential consequences for America’s faith community.
Video

Video US Gay Marriage Ruling Yields Real-life Impact

Friday’s landmark Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the United States is an outcome few thought possible just years ago, and shows a nation that increasingly tolerates and even celebrates the hopes and aspirations of gay people. VOA’s Michael Bowman spoke to a same-sex couple that will benefit from the high court ruling, and to a Christian scholar who is apprehensive about its potential consequences for America’s faith community.
Video

Video Syrians Flee IS Advance in Hasaka

The Syrian government said Monday it has taken back one of several districts in Hasaka overrun by Islamic State militants. But continued fighting elsewhere in the northern city has forced thousands of civilians from their homes. In this report narrated by Bill Rodgers, VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer describes the scene in Amouda, where some of the displaced are taking refuge.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video S. Korea Christians Protest Gay Rights Festival

The U.S. Supreme Court decision mandating marriage equality nationwide has energized gay rights supporters around the world. Gay rights remain a highly contentious issue in a key U.S. ally, South Korea, where police did a deft job Sunday of preventing potential clashes between Christian protesters and gay activists. Kurt Achin reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Syrian Refugees Return to Tal Abyad

Syrian refugees in Turkey confirm they left their hometown of Tal Abyad because of intense fighting and coalition airstrikes, not because Kurdish fighters were engaged in ethnic cleansing, as some Turkish officials charged. VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer, in Tal Abyad, finds that civilians coming back to the town agree, as we hear in this report narrated by Roger Wilkison.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.
Video

Video In Syrian Crisis, Social Media Offer Small Comforts

Za’atari, a makeshift city in Jordan, may be the only Syrian refugee camp to tweet its activities, in an effort to keep donors motivated as the war in Syria intensifies and the humanitarian crisis deepens. Inside the camp, families say mobile phone applications help hold together families that are physically torn apart. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Chemical-Sniffing Technology Fights Australia's Graffiti Vandals

Cities and towns all over the world spend huge amounts of resources battling graffiti writers who deface buildings, public transport vehicles and even monuments. Authorities in Sydney, Australia, hope a new chemical-sniffing technology finally will stop vandals from scribbling on walls in the passenger areas of commuter trains. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Cambodia Struggling to Curb Child Labor

Earlier this year a United Nations report found 10 percent of Cambodian children aged 7-14 are working – one of the highest rates in the region – and said one in four children in that age bracket are forced to quit school to help their families. Although the child labor rate has dropped over the past decade, Cambodia has a lot more to do – including keeping more children in school. Robert Carmichael reports for VOA from Phnom Penh.

VOA Blogs