- Islamist militants - Mali - refugees - United Nations - unrest
Aid groups warn of humanitarian crisis in Mali's north
Since jihadists took control of northern Mali in March 2012, hundreds of thousands in the region have fled their homes amid fierce fighting and food shortages, the UN refugee agency told FRANCE 24, as aid agencies warned of a humanitarian disaster.
Hundreds of thousands of Malians have fled the country’s north for southern regions and neighbouring countries since jihadists seized northern Mali last year, according to the UN refugee agency.
Spokesman for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), William Spindler, told FRANCE 24 that this figure is around 376,000.
Meanwhile, the increasingly difficult humanitarian situation in northern Mali, where a joint French-Malian air and ground offensive to flush out Islamist rebels is underway, has led aid agencies to warn of a humanitarian disaster if supply routes remain blocked.
In Mali’s south, many of the displaced have ended up in health clinics where health workers reported a rise in symptoms of malnutrition, particularly among young children.
FRANCE 24 talks to some of those who fled the violence.