More a quarter of a million people have fled Mali in the last six months as fighting erupted between government forces, rebels and various armed groups. In addition to the refugees in Burkina Faso, there are also 96,000 in Mauritania and 53,000 in Niger. Another 174,000 are internally displaced within Mali.
“We have now 257,000 refugees from Mali who are going through an enormous level of suffering and deprivation,” said Guterres in a camp, home to some 1,200 Malian refugees. “They had to cross the borders of very poor countries that have very dramatic food security problems: Niger, Mauritania and Burkina Faso. They found a fantastic generosity in their host countries that are sharing everything they have with them, but they did not find until now the attention of the international community. We, the aid agencies, are struggling to provide them with basic needs in water, food, sanitation and health.”
“We left because everybody around us was leaving their villages. We panicked. We had news that main cities were being taken over by armed groups,” said Raichatou. She now feels safe in Burkina Faso and does not want to return to Mali unless peace prevails again.
“Mali: More Aid Needed for Mali’s Hidden Emergency, Urge Guterres and U.S.” All Africa, 2 August 2012.
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