LOOKING BEYOND THE EMERGENCY TOWARD DEVELOPMENT
The Diffa region has been hosting Nigerian refugees fleeing terrorist violence in the northern states of Nigeria since 2013. With the first attacks on Niger territory early 2015 the situation has deteriorated dramatically. In May 2015, the authorities decided to evacuate the population of 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: today, we register Nigerian refugees, returnees (Niger nationals who had migrated but returned to Niger), and IDPs. The majority of the displaced are settled in more than 140 spontaneous sites, villages and towns along the one main road in the region, the Route Nationale.
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.
Already weak before the crisis, basic services and infrastructure (water, health, and education) are increasingly under pressure and highly dependent on humanitarian actors. Since August 2019 the border with Nigeria has been closed. This increased the price of essential goods for population.
UNHCR has a sub-Office in Diffa town, 5 kilometres from the Nigerian border.