IOM Niger: Humanitarian Rescue Operations Search & Rescue Operations | May 2019
In the framework of the Migrant Resource and Response Mechanism, IOM Niger assists migrants in distress through humanitarian rescue operations along the border with Algeria and search and rescue (SAR) operations in the Agadez region. The overall main results are summarized below.
Humanitarian rescue operations: In Autumn 2017, a significant new southbound migration flow was observed as the Government of Algeria began to expulse and repatriate Nigeriens and third country nationals into Niger. In response to the expulsions, IOM conducts humanitarian rescue operations which consist of lifesaving transportation, food and water assistance to migrants in distress, starting at “Point Zero” at the border of Algeria and Niger where migrants are dropped off by Algerian authorities. Migrants found around Point Zero are offered transportation to Assamaka where they receive emergency humanitarian relief in the form of water, food, medical and psychosocial support at temporary hangars set up by IOM. Migrants are then sensitized about IOM services available to them, Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration (AVRR) or transportation to the nearest urban center, Arlit.
Search and rescue operations: Since October 2016, IOM, in collaboration with the Direction Générale de la Protection Civile (DGPC), undertakes search and rescue operations to find and bring migrants in distress to the nearest safe urban centre (Agadez, Arlit and Dirkou) in the Agadez region. The migrants are often mentally and physically stressed, suffering from trauma, dehydration and/or physical wounds. Search and Rescue operations are performed both pro-actively and reactively in the areas of Agadez, Arlit and Dirkou/Bilma. For proactive missions, SAR teams are dispatched along pre-defined routes based on the most updated map of migration routes to search for migrants in distress. Reactive missions are conducted in response to calls or information received from various sources (traders, migrants, local authorities, etc.).