NGOs declare a humanitarian crisis in northern Mali: 60,000 displaced persons
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NGOs declare a humanitarian crisis in northern Mali: 60,000 displaced persons

Bamako : Mali | Feb 18, 2012 at 3:02 AM PST
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Supporters of Malian soldiers fighting Tuareg rebels, clash with security forces during a protest

The recent fighting in northern Mali between Tuareg rebels and the military have created a humanitarian crisis, leaving dozens dead and thousands of IDPs and refugees, lamented Friday, February 17th the Red Cross and Amnesty International.

The country has faced since Jan. 17 to Tuareg rebel attacks against several localities and objectives of the army in its northern part. The assaults are led by men of the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) and other rebels, including heavily armed men returned to Libya where they fought on behalf of Muammar Gaddafi.

The fighting has claimed many victims - casualties - on both sides, it is not possible to establish an accurate picture of independent sources. "At least 60,000 people are now displaced within Mali," said the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).



Precarious food situation


The displaced, who "have abandoned their homes, their fields, lost their livestock and their daily activities, are clueless" and "many families living in the open, some with young children, pregnant women or the elderly" , said Juerg Eglin, head of the ICRC in Mali and Niger.

The violence has also forced some 22,000 people to seek refuge in Niger, according to the ICRC. Earlier Friday, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) announced that approximately 44,000 refugees in neighboring countries.

"These mass movements come as northern Mali and throughout the Sahel region are facing a precarious food situation, particularly because of crop failures" while food prices are rising, weakening "tens of thousands of people ", the ICRC is concerned.

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Thousands of Tuaregs took refuge in Libya following rebellions in Mali and Niger
Thousands of Tuaregs took refuge in Libya following rebellions in Mali and Niger
Nazish Fatima is based in Rāwalpindi, Punjab, Pakistan, and is a Reporter on Allvoices.
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