WASHINGTON - The White House released up to $10 million on Thursday for emergency relief efforts to aid Malian refugees fleeing the West African country, which has seen a coup and rising violence from Islamic extremists with links to al-Qaida.

The money, which comes from an emergency fund designed to provide refugee assistance, will finance relief and protection operations headed by the United Nations.

Almost 230,000 people have left Mali, according to the White House, while 155,000 are internally displaced, fueling concerns of a massive humanitarian crisis in the region.

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