New York, US (PANA) - The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) on Friday appealed for US$35.6 million with which to respond to the growing humanitarian crisis resulting from the renewed fighting in northern Mali between government forces and Tuareg rebels.
A UNHCR statement said: "An estimated 130,000 people have been uprooted within and outside Mali since the clashes resumed in mid-January".
The statement, which was made available to PANA in New York, said that the appeal aims to cover the needs of 85,000 Malians until July.
It said that, "the funds will be used by UNHCR to provide emergency assistance to the displaced in Mali and neighbouring countries".
The agency also disclosed that the largest influx was recorded in Niger with 28,858 arrivals, followed by 22,958 in Mauritania and 17,499 in Burkina Faso.
"More daily arrivals are being recorded in the neighbouring countries as attacks continue throughout northern Mali, where an estimated 60,000 Malians are also internally displaced and in need of humanitarian assistance,” the statement noted.
It further said that UNHCR had delivered tents and other essential relief items to Niger, Burkina Faso and Mauritania to cover the needs of a total of 22,000 people.
"In Mauritania, UNHCR has also purchased food for 20,000 refugees and has started relocating refugees to the Mbera camp, a former site that is being rehabilitated to respond to the ongoing influx.
"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 UNHCR stated.
It also said that, "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".
"The majority of those uprooted by the renewed clashes between the Malian army and the Mouvement National de Liberation de l’Azawad (MNLA), which are in breach of a 2009 peace deal that had formally ended the Tuareg rebellion in Mali, are ethnic Tuaregs from rural areas. There are also ethnic Songhai, Moor and Fulani," the statement added.
-0- PANA AA/VAO 24Feb2012