Niger + 6 more

Niger: Operational Update, September 2020

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Due to rising insecurity in Maradi region, the numbers of internally displaced persons have risen sharply and reached 23,016 persons.

The number of IDPs in Tillabery and Tahoua region has increased with 44% over the last 12 months. At least 139,780 persons are internally displaced.

With the support of the EU, UNHCR has constructed 2,164 social houses for the most vulnerable refugees and Nigeriens in Diffa region.

Operational context

The operation is managed by 416 staff in 8 locations: 1 Representation, the ETM office and the one-stop-shop in Niamey; three Sub-Offices in Agadez, Diffa and Maradi; two Field Offices in Tahoua, and Tillabery and two Field Units in Abala and Ouallam.

Prevention and response to the global COVID-19 pandemic is key today. While UNHCR continues to deliver aid, the organization has set up a strategy which focuses on increased coordination with the Government and other stakeholders. Prevention is paramount and carried out through communication campaigns, distribution of hygiene kits to the Government and refugees and site planning. UNHCR has donated tons of medical supplies and equipment to the Government, including Refugee Housing Units to isolate confirmed cases.

Sahel Situation: began in 2012 with the outbreak of conflict in northern Mali. UNHCR and the Government of Niger have developed a joint strategy to close the camps in the Tillabery region and to support the socioeconomic integration of the 59,435 Malian refugees into the country. With the support of the EU Trust Fund and GIZ, as well as development partners such as the World Bank and ILO, Malian refugees and their host communities have access to land, housing and livelihood opportunities, while national health, education and water infrastructure is being reinforced.

The deteriorating security situation has caused the internal displacement of 139,780 persons in the Tillabery and Tahoua regions. Protection monitoring, especially in the border areas, and an adequate protection response for identified cases is ongoing.

Due to rising insecurity in these areas, thousands of Nigeriens, mainly women and children, fled to Mali. Most of them are settled in the Cercle of Anderamboukane and Menaka.

Finally, the presence of armed groups in Burkina Faso has triggered the cross-border displacement of 3,803 persons at the least. Armed incursions into Niger from Burkina Faso’s armed groups have also caused internal displacement. These persons are stuck in inaccessible zones near the border. Their exact numbers are expected to be higher. This situation is set to continue over the next months.

Nigeria Situation: began in 2013, with the arrival to the Diffa region of Nigerian refugees and Nigerien returnees who had been settled in Nigeria for decades. The situation has become increasingly mixed following attacks on Nigerien territory since 2015. Today, there are almost 263,518 displaced persons in the region (including 126,492 refugees, 102,726 IDPs, and 34,300 returnees), many of them in secondary movement. The majority live in spontaneous sites or with the local population, while UNHCR manages the Sayam Forage refugee camp, with almost 20,000 people.

UNHCR is strongly engaged in development-oriented interventions The Government of Niger, UNHCR, NGO partners and the World Bank foster economic recovery and long-term solutions through urbanization and the construction of durable housing.

The Maradi region witnessed an influx of refugees since May 2019, fleeing gruesome killings, rape, kidnappings for ransom and pillaging of property by armed groups in North Western Nigeria. To respond to the new emergency, UNHCR opened a field office and deployed a team. UNHCR and partners are relocating refugees to “opportunity villages” away from the border to ensure their safety and ease pressure on the host population. In cooperation with the Government and with the support of the humanitarian and development community, UNHCR improves Infrastructure and access to basic services while giving an emergency response. Today, UNHCR has biometrically registered 41,096 refugees. Moreover, the number of IDPs in on the rise as security deteriorates sharply in the border region. To date, we have 23,016 IDPs in Maradi.

On 18 September 2020, 3,208 persons have been evacuated to Niger through the Emergency Transit Mechanism; 776 are still in Niamey while 2,491 have already left Niger, and 81 departures are pending. The next flight from Libya to Niamey is planned for beginning of October and should concern 1401 evacuees.

Niger is a major crossroads of migratory movements northwards towards Libya, Algeria and the Mediterranean. These migratory flows constitute mixed movements, including economic migrants as well as persons in need of international protection. 1,438 asylum seekers and refugees, mostly Sudanese, are based in Agadez. The most vulnerable (about 100 people) are housed in guesthouses in the city of Agadez.

The Government, UNHCR, IOM and NGO partners identify asylum seekers within the migratory flows and provide these persons with information and assistance. The situation has become more complex, with the addition of mixed movements leaving Libya and Algeria.