New data showing higher IDP numbers inside Mali than previously known

Briefing Notes, 2 November 2012

This is a summary of what was said by UNHCR spokesperson Adrian Edwards to whom quoted text may be attributed at the press briefing, on 2 November 2012, at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.

New data from Mali is showing a higher number of internally displaced people than previously reported. According to the Commission on Population Movement in Mali, a working group under the Protection Cluster lead by UNHCR, at least 203,845 people are currently displaced. Previously, the estimate was 118,795 people.

The revised figure reflects in part better access to areas in the north by the Commission, as well as improved counting of IDPs in Bamako, thanks to work done by IOM. There the number of displaced people was estimated at 46,000 as of September from 12,000 last June and July

However, there have also been indications of actual new displacement, with people reported to be fleeing because of general insecurity and a deteriorating human rights situation in the north of the country, fear of imminent military activity, and because of loss of livelihoods and limited access to basic services.

New refugee arrivals are also being seen in neighbouring countries: In Niger there were 3853 refugees in September and October, while in Burkina Faso last month there were 1000. For UNHCR and its partners, access to refugees is becoming more difficult in Niger, Burkina Faso and Mauritania. The risk of abductions of aid workers means that our teams have to travel with armed escorts. Frequent security alerts are limiting access to the camps and our ability to assist the refugees.

In Burkina Faso, we have started voluntary relocation of Malian refugees from Ferrerio camp and Deou Tamachek site in the northern province of Oudalan, to a safer and improved site further south at Goudebou. Ferrerio hosts 9,700 refugees and Deou accommodates 2,100 refugees, and so far 400 people have been moved from these sites to Goudebou. A new convoy is scheduled to leave today carrying 200 refugees from Ferrerio. Additional relocation convoys are planned from other sites over the next weeks.

Security is also a concern in Niger. Schools have not started yet in the camps as school structures are still being built. UNHCR fears that without schooling, children and adolescents may return to Mali where there is a risk of recruitment by various armed groups. A lack of funding for recreational and professional activities in the camps means that many refugees are not meaningfully occupied.

To date, we have received 41.7 per cent of the US$153.7 million we required to assist the Malian refugees and IDPs.

For further information on this topic, please contact:

  • In Dakar (Regional): Helene Caux on mobile +221 77 333 12 91
  • In Geneva: Fatoumata Lejeune-Kaba on mobile +41 79 249 3483
• DONATE NOW •

 

• GET INVOLVED • • STAY INFORMED •

UNHCR country pages

Internally Displaced People

The internally displaced seek safety in other parts of their country, where they need help.

Mali Crisis: Urgent Appeal

More than 300,000 Malians have been forced to abandon homes in the hope of finding safety. Help us protect them.

Donate to this crisis

Related Internet Links

UNHCR is not responsible for the content and availability of external internet sites

Barbara Hendricks visits Malian refugees in Burkina Faso

UNHCR Honorary Lifetime Goodwill Ambassador Barbara Hendricks met with Malian refugees in Damba Camp on July 6, 2012, in northern Burkina Faso. The acclaimed soprano is using the visit to highlight the plight of tens of thousands of refugees who have fled from conflict in their country this year and are living in camps or settlements in neighbouring countries. As of early July, more than 198,000 Malians had fled to Mauritania (88,825), Burkina Faso (65,009) and Niger (44,987). At least 160,000 were estimated to be displaced within Mali, most in the north.

Barbara Hendricks visits Malian refugees in Burkina Faso

Malian refugees flee for safety to Niger

Thousands of Malian families have arrived in Niger since mid-January, fleeing fighting between a rebel Tuareg movement and Malian government forces in northern Mali. Refugees are living in makeshift settlements along the border, exposed to the sun and wind by day, and cold at night. UNHCR has started distributing relief assistance and is planning to open camps in safer areas further away from the border. UNHCR's Helene Caux met with some the refugees who all expressed their desire to return to their country once peace prevails.

Malian refugees flee for safety to Niger

Harsh life for Malian refugees in Burkina Faso

Some 3,900 Malian refugees are living in Damba camp in northern Burkina Faso. They left their homes in Gossi and Gao in northern Mali to escape fighting between rebel Tuareg movement and the Malian army as well as threats posed by criminal gangs and Islamist groups. Several families have recently arrived in the camp, worried that an attack on Gao in June will spill over to other towns. Life is harsh in the camp and UNHCR urgently needs fresh funds to ensure life-saving assistance for this silent humanitarian crisis.

More than 380,000 Malians have been forced to flee their homes this year. Over 65,000 of them have found refuge in Burkina Faso. And this comes at a time when the countries in the Sahel region are suffering from drought and food shortfalls.

Harsh life for Malian refugees in Burkina Faso

Mauritania: Mali Elections In Mauritania Play video

Mauritania: Mali Elections In Mauritania

Hundreds of Malian refugees voted in exile at the weekend in the presidential election in their home country, way down on the numbers eligible to cast a ballot.
Mali: Going Back Home Play video

Mali: Going Back Home

A trickle of displaced Malians undertake the journey back to their towns and villages.
Mali: Waiting to ReturnPlay video

Mali: Waiting to Return

After spending months in the central Mali town of Mopti, hundreds of displaced families are anxious to go back to their homes in the north. But security is still a concern.