Violence in Mali sends families into Niger

“It is a relief to receive some blankets and drinking water today so my children can be more comfortable and do not have to sleep on the dust anymore,” said Fatuma Mathala.

Ms. Mathala, who is six months pregnant, and her four children, ages 2, 3, 4 and 6, travelled for days to reach a temporary settlement site in Mangaizé, a village in the Ouallam region, approximately 100 kilometres away from the Mali-Niger border.

“We left all our belongings behind. We have nothing left. And the situation here is dire. We are sleeping in the open with little food and water,” she said.

To date, more than 12,000 people – many of whom are women and children – have arrived in Niger as a result of the fighting between rebel Tuareg groups and government forces that began last month in the Azawad region of northern Mali. The displaced people seeking refuge include both Malians and Nigeriens who were living in Mali.

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