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UNHCR Niger Factsheet: Diffa Region, December 2020

News and Press Release
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2,480 new arrivals in Sayam Forage Camp in November 2020

The Diffa region hosts 265,696* Nigerian refugees, internally displaced persons and Nigerien returnees. More than 80% of them live in spontaneous settlements. (*Government figures)

Since April 2019, movements are restricted on many roads following attacks, kidnappings and the increased use of explosive devices.

The security situation has a strong negative impact on the economy of the region, reducing opportunities for both host and displaced populations.

Update on Achievements

Operational Context

Population movements and security situation

The Diffa region has been hosting Nigerian refugees fleeing terrorist violence in the northern states of Nigeria since 2013. In the wake of the first attacks on Niger soil in 2015, the situation has dramatically deteriorated. In May 2015, the authorities decided to evacuate the population living in the Niger region of the Lake Chad Islands.
Following the first attacks in the Diffa region, the population on the move has become increasingly mixed. The majority of the displaced are settled in more than 140 spontaneous sites, villages and towns along the one main road of the region, the Route Nationale 1. At the request of the authorities, UNHCR has established two camps: the refugee camp of Sayam Forage and the IDP camp of Kablewa. The latter was closed by the Government in June 2017 after a suicide bomb attack.

The security situation has serious negative effects on the economy of the region, reducing the absorption capacity of the host population and the capacity of the displaced population to support itself. The population of the fertile areas (Lake Chad, Komadougou river) have been displaced, the pastoral routes have been destroyed, and cross-border exchange and trade (seasonal migration, trade of goods) are deeply affected. Despite a significant increase in humanitarian interventions, the needs are still high. Basic services and infrastructure (water, health, and education), which were already weak before the crisis, are under a mounting pressure and highly dependent on humanitarian actors. Since April 2019, movements are restricted on the Gueskerou, Toumour, Bosso roads following the discovery of explosive devices, successive attacks and kidnappings. The border with Nigeria has been closed in August 2019 which increases the price of essential goods for population. In 2020, attacks against the population including kidnappings, the trademark of Boko Haram, continue as threats towards humanitarian workers.

A total of 48 protection incidents were reported in the region during the month of November 2020 compared to 34 for the previous month. 151 individuals were victims during the reporting period against 51 in October. This increase may be linked to the impossibility for the Government Army to reach certain localities, including the Lake Chad islands because of the deterioration of roads due to the flooding of the Komadougou river and the rise of insecurity in the N'Guigmi department, which was considered as a haven of peace in the Diffa region.
Furthermore 487 protection incidents which affected 2,503 victims have been recorded in the whole region during the year 2020.