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Niger: Emergency Plan of Action Operation 6-Month Update: Niger Complex Emergency Appeal n° MDRNE021

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Situation Report
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This operational update seek to inform on the progress of the implementation of the Niger Complex Emergency Appeal activities. The planned activities are continuing as planned. The modification of the EPoA arose in the section of Water hygiene and sanitation. Initially is was planned to construct 12 water points (boreholes). However following the advice of the donor, we integrated the constructed of one solar pump out the 12 water points.

Description of the disaster

Since 2015, the Region of Diffa in Niger has been experiencing attacks by armed groups, disrupting basic social services such as health and education limiting agro-pastoral livelihoods and prompting population displacement. According to the UNHCR and the regional authorities, as of 30 June 2018, approximately 205,592 people, including 104,288 internally displaced people, 118,868 refugees, 25,731 returnees and 1,705 Asylum seekers are still displaced in the Diffa Region due to violence related to the lake Chad Basin crisis. To date, approximately 408,000 people requires urgent food assistance and more than 100,000 peope are in need of nutrition assistance in Diffa. Overall, 419,000 people require humanitarian assistance in Diffa as a result of the armed groups-related insecurity (USAID, Lake Chad Basin – Emergency Fact sheet n°20 of September 4, 2018).

Further to recurrent malnutrition and food insecurity, Niger faces challenges related to epidemics and floods. From 1st January to 27 August 2018, flooding in Niger’s Diffa region affected more than 10,892 people (1,572 households), damaging nearly 346 homes, and resulted in the loss of nearly 10,230 livestock. Additionnaly, relief organizations reported on increased number of contaminated wells in floods affected areas.

Population movement, fleeing violence by armed groups in neighbouring Nigeria exhacerbated the context of humanitarian needs for urgent action. Humanitarian operation in view of responding to the enormous needs are always hampered by security incident in the region. Thus affecteing the implementation of activities.

Security constraint is disrupting basic social services, hindering access and delivery of assistance.
Livelihood activities have been curtailed by movement restrictions. In many areas, schools and Health Centres are closed, or staff have fled to save their life.

According to the UNOCHA report of 10 September 2018, from January to August 2018, the security situation in the Diffa region was marked by an increase in abuses by armed groups and a decrease in civilian casualties related to these incidents, compared to the same period last year (2017). The period of January to August 2018 has recorded the highest number of incidents (47/94 or 50%). The communes of Gueskerou, Bosso, Maine Soroa and Chetimari are the most affected by the attacks of the armed groups of Lake Chad. On 4 June 2018, three (3) suicide bombers blew up their charges in the city of Diffa, killing 6 civilians. Three (3) military bases were also attacked by the elements of the armed groups respectively on 17 January, 23 January and 1 st July in the localities of Toumour, Chétimari Wangou (Chetimari) and Bilabrin (N'guigmi). Another attack occurred on 29 April 2018 on a position of the Defence and Security Forces (FDS) at 50 kilometres from the city of Diffa between the villages of "Garin Wanzam" and "Ngagam" killing 3 soldiers and several army vehicles carried away. These and other criminal incidents (kidnapping with ransom demand, extortion and threats) are causing population movements between different sites and / or villages. The record of incidents between January and August 2018 indicates:

  • 38 loss of life;
  • 34 kidnappings;
  • 03 attacks against health centers;
  • 03 school attacks;

A total of 94 security incidents were recorded.

The phenomenon of kidnappings of civilians against the payment of ransom has taken alarming proportions in recent weeks throughout the Diffa region. People armed with motorcycles burst into a house or around a village and kidnap their victims. Once the bandits are safe, the relatives of those captured are called by phone for the payment of the ransom. The latest case is that of an old lady and her daughter in the village of Gueskerou 35 kilometers from Diffa which occurred on 8 September 2018. The target was well chosen because the old lady is the mother of a member of the Niger parliament. The search to find the two abductees has not given anything yet, but a source close to the family said that the kidnappers demanded the payment of 20 million Naira, (equivalent to 34 million CFA francs XOF).

An ICRC medical staff abducted with her colleagues 6 months ago were killed on 17 September 2018. This other incident has caused the interruption of Movement partnes activities for more than two weeks.

As a result of the violence, the Government of Niger declared a three-month state of emergency in the region of Diffa starting February 2015. The state of emergency is renewed every three months, the last renewal being on 18 September 2018. The state of emergency is expected to decrease the occurrence of violent attacks and consequently increase the public’s feeling of safety. Further, the government banned the population of this region of carrying out livelihood activities including agriculture, fishery and also the use of motobike. Also, the Governement instructed the closure of market places especially the markets of Kintchandi, Gagamari et Ngagam. Lack of access for animals grazing areas, especially around the lake Chad and the obstacles to transhumance are all aggravating factors. However, reports also indicate that restrictions to movement may reduce not only opportunities for income generation, resulting in increased dependence in relief and livelihoods assistance, but access to health care as well.

With regard to the food security situation on the region of Diffa, the result of June 2018, mobile Vulnerability Analysis and Mapping (mVAM) survey conducted by WFP indicates that a significant proportion of households in the Diffa region suffer from low food consumption requiring humanitarian assistance. The same goes for the population affected by poor pastoral conditions in the North of Diffa (N’gourti).

According to mVAM report, a quarter of the households in Diffa region do not have enough food to support themselves, nor money to buy food supplies. Households are forced to use survival strategies more frequently, especially in the Commune of Maine Soroa, N’Guigmi and Toumour. According to the Niger Ministry of Public Health, from January to 30 September 2018, the MoH has registered 17,139 people (14.26%) affected by moderate acute malnutrition with the Health district of Diffa being the most affected in the region (7,799 people) followed by Bosso (2,571 people), N’guigmi (2,378 people) and Maine Soroa (2,026 people). In the same period, the MoH has reported 9,861 people (8.20%) with severe acute malnutrition in the region. The Health district of Diffa remains the most affected with 4,449 people affected.

Regarding epidemics diseases in the region of Diffa, the MoH reported 40 affected cases of Meningitis since January 2018 in the region including 38 affected cases in the Health district of Diffa, one (1) in Maine Soroa and one (1) in N’gourti. No cholera case was reported in the Diffa region in 2018. As per hepatitis E virus is concerned, the last affected cases were reported in the region on 21 May 2018. These are the latest affected cases of the 2017 Hepatitis E epidemic outbreak in the region. No case has been reported since then. Thanks to the activities of the NRCS Volunteers which strongly contributed to the reduction of the spread of epidemic diseases in the region, knowing that.