UN agencies worry over humanitarian situation in Mali

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Mali refugees

United Nations agencies are expressing grave concern over the humanitarian situation in Mali, where thousands of people have been displaced by fighting and severe food shortages.

The insecurity and political instability stemming from the recent coup has worsened the situation.

The United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) says the north of the country is becoming more and more dangerous due to the proliferation of armed groups.

The UN World Food Programme (WFP) says it has been forced to suspend food distribution in parts of northern Mali after its offices and warehouses were ransacked and looted.

More than 200,000 people have been displaced in northern Mali since January.

UNHCR spokesperson Melissa Fleming says at least 400 refugees from Mali are crossing into Burkina Faso and Mauritania every day.

"They are telling us that they are fleeing because there is generalized violence but also mayhem in these towns and cities is increasing. They are telling us that they themselves during their flight are targeted by armed men taking their cars, their money and other personal belongings when they are fleeing towards Burkina Faso and Mauritania. They are also reporting lack of food.  Mali itself is one of the top drought affected countries in the Sahel; I think its number two. They are reporting steep price rises and concern about sustaining themselves. But also they are telling us they had hopes that the coup might bring peace to the country and when they saw this was falling apart they decided to leave."

Duration: 46″

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