"As they settle into host families, most will need food and protection. As families accommodate the newly arrived, over time, they will seek to put their children in school and find additional space," he told CNA Jan. 24.
The fighting in Mali began in April 2012 after a military coup provided Islamist fighters and Tuareg rebels the opportunity to seize northern Mali.
An estimated 228,000 people have been internally displaced in Mali, while another 140,000 refugees have registered in neighboring countries, a report from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees says. There are about 15.4 million people in the predominantly Muslim country.
French military forces intervened on Jan. 11 to counter rebel attempts to move into southern Mali. The intervention has helped split the rebels, with some groups now saying they want to negotiate for an end to the fighting or ally against their former cobelligerents, USA Today reports.
Gallagher reported that French-led foreign troops continue to move into northern Mopti, which is in the center of the country. They have taken the Mopti town of Douentza and their planes have bombed the rebel-held historic city of Timbuktu.
Helen Blakesley, the CRS Regional Information Officer for West and Central Africa, said the agency has been helping families who fled the north since the crisis began last year. The agency's aid has reached over 7,000 households with around 50,000 people.