Responding to a growing crisis
Published: Jan 22, 2013
Nearly 375,000 Malians fled the conflict in the north of their country in 2012. Over 145,000, the majority of them women and children, sought refuge in poor areas of neighboring Burkina Faso, Mauritania and Niger. More are already following since the escalation in fighting in January 2013. Those neighboring governments and humanitarian organizations have provided life-saving aid to refugees in difficult circumstances, but they are struggling to meet all the refugees’ basic needs. In Niger’s camps, up to 21 percent of children are malnourished. Governments and aid organizations must urgently step up preparations to respond to rising needs in refugeehosting countries, while all military forces and armed groups active in Mali must take all possible steps to avoid harm to an already distressed civilian population. Many of the refugees have repeatedly fled Mali over the last 20 years, and may well not return until the deep-seated social, political and economic drivers of the country's conflict are resolved.