Thousands displaced by fighting in northern Mali

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Malian refugees in a refugee camp in western Niger

Over 22,000 people have been displaced in northern Mali as fighting rages between government forces and rebel Tuareg groups.

The fighting is reported to have started in mid-January this.

The United Nations refugee agency UNHCR says most of the displaced have sought refuge in Niger, Burkina Faso and Mauritania.

Many of the arrivals are said to be sleeping in the open and have little access to shelter, clean water health services and food.

UNHCR and other aid agencies are deploying emergency teams to help meet the needs of the displaced. Adrian Edwards is from UNHCR.

"This is a region to us has been relatively quiet for some time and our presence has been very small. What we are doing now is rapidly beefing up. While most of those who recently fled Mali are Malians, recent arrivals in Niger also include nationals of Niger who had been living in Mali for decades. Many have been crossing the border between the two countries regularly to find grazing land for their cattle. In the past three weeks between 10,000 and 12,000 people crossed to Niger, 9,000 have found refuge in Mauritania and 3,000 in Burkina Faso."

Duration 32″

Filed under Today's News.
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