Humanitarian Crisis Worsens in Conflict-Hit Mali

Humanitarian crisis worsens in Mali as an estimated 130,000 people have been uprooted within and outside resulting resulting from the renewed fighting between government forces and Tuareg rebels.

The Tuareg, a nomadic tribe, have attacked several towns in northern Mali in mid-january and demanding autonomy.

The United Nations refugee agency today appealed for $35.6 million to respond to the growing humanitarian crisis in Mali.

UNHCR Spokeperson Adrian Edwards said the funds will be used by UNHCR to provide emergency assistance to the displaced in Mali and neighbouring countries.

Women collecting firewood for cooking pause on the cracked bed of the Niger River. UN Photo/Ian Steele

According to UNHCR, the largest influx has been recorded in Niger with 28,858 arrivals, followed by 22,958 in Mauritania and 17,499 in Burkina Faso.

The UN agency reports that more daily arrivals are being recorded in the neighbouring countries as attacks continue throughout northern Mali.

About 60,000 people within Mali itself have been displaced by the conflict and in need of humanitarian assistance.

The UN agency has stepped up efforts to address the humanitarian problem engulfing the country. Tents and other essential relief items to Niger, Burkina Faso and Mauritania to cover the needs of a total of 22,000 people were recently delivered.

UNHCR reports that the displaced are currently hosted in remote and arid border villages that are affected both by food crisis, a severe drought, and the general insecurity in the Sahel region.

“The refugees are in desperate need of adequate shelter, food, water and sanitation, healthcare and education. They also need basic household items such as sleeping mats, mosquito nets, blankets and kitchen sets.” -UNHCR

This January, the Azawad National Liberation Movement (MNLA) – a Tuareg rebel movement, comprised of many warriors who launched a brutal attack against the Malian state military.

According to reports, MLNA has about 1,000 members and also includes Tuareg soldiers who deserted the Malian army.

The Malian government has claimed that MNLA of having links to Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.

Tuareg nomads are present throughout the Sahel region of Africa. Both Mali and Niger have battled Tuareg uprisings in the last decade.

Mina Fabulous follows the news, especially what is going on in the US State Department. Mina turns State Department waffle into plain English. Mina Fabulous is the pen name of Carmen Avalino, the NewsBlaze production editor. When she isn’t preparing stories for NewsBlaze writers, she writes stories, but to separate her editing and writing identities, she uses the name given by her family and friends.