French military intervention spews 7,000 Malians refugees

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (PANA) - Around 7,000 Malians have arrived in refugee camps in the country's neighbouring countries since the 11 Jan. 2013 launch of the French military operation, aimed curtailing the advance of the north-based armed Islamist groups towards the south, according to an OXFAM official.

"Newly displaced people were registered following the intensification of the conflict. For ten days, nearly 7,000 new refugees arrived in the camps of neighbouring countries,'' said
OXFAM Adviser on humanitarian policy Caroline Baudot.

''It is feared that the governments of host countries and the humanitarian community are not in a position to respond in the event of a massive influx of refugees,'' Baudot told PANA here.

According to Mrs. Baudot, the situation of refugees is already very worrisome in some camps established in Mali’s neighbouring countries.

"Indeed, there are differences between host countries. In Mauritania, the government decided to assemble all refugees coming from Mali in one single camp, while in Niger and in Burkina Faso, refugees were given by the authorities the freedom to settle in several camps,'' the OXFAM official said.

"Overall, many efforts were made to respond to the demand for care. But the response is not yet satisfactory, there still are unmet needs. The response is all the more difficult as the refugees were greeted in Niger, Burkina Faso and Mauritania by populations that are themselves underprivileged,'' she said.

Nearly 147,000 people, fleeing from the war in northern Mali, have already taken refuge in Burkina Faso and Niger, two of Mali’s neighbouring countries, before the latest fighting.

24 janvier 2013 17:34:23

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