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

Video Experts Warn World Losing Ebola Fight

Doctors Without Borders says world is losing battle against Ebola, unless wealthy nations dispatch specialized biological disaster response teams More

Video Experts: Rise of Islamic State Significant Development in Jihadism

Many analysts contend the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years More

US-Based Hong Kongers Pledge Support for Pro-Democracy Activists

Democracy advocates call on Chinese living abroad to join them in opposing new election rules for their home territory 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.
Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearancei
X
Elizabeth Lee
September 02, 2014 8:57 PM
Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearance

Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Experts See Rise of ISIS as Significant Development

The Islamic State’s rise seems sudden. It caught the U.S. by surprise this summer when it captured large portions of northern Iraq and spread its wings in neighboring Syria. But many analysts contend that the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years. VOA's Jela de Franceschi takes a closer look at the rise of ISIS and its implications for the Middle East and beyond.
Video

Video Israel Concerned Over Syrian Rebels in Golan

Israeli officials are following with concern the recent fighting between Syrian rebels and government forces near the contested Golan Heights. Forty-four U.N. peacekeepers from Fiji have been seized by Syrian Islamist rebels and the clashes occasionally have spilled into Israel. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.

AppleAndroid