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UNHCR Niger Update: Sahel Situation, October 2020

Situation Report
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Sahel situation

October 2020

The Sahel regions have been hosting Malian refugees since 2012. They live in 3 sites in the Tillabery region and a refugee hosting area in the Tahoua region.

The rapidly deteriorating security context has caused increasing internal displacement flows in the same regions with rising numbers every month.

The presence of armed groups across the border has caused the internal displacement of a few thousand citizens from Burkina Faso into Niger.

Update on Achievements

Operational Context

Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso are all struggling to cope with numerous militant groups moving between the three countries. The security situation in the tri-border region of Niger, Burkina Faso and Mali and hence the situation in the Nigerien regions of Tillabery and Tahoua has sharply deteriorated in recent years. This threat is forcing people to flee their homes, and further deprives vulnerable communities of critical basic services as armed groups directly target schools, health centers and other infrastructure. The civilian population is victim of extorsion, targeted killings, cattle theft and shop looting and threatened to leave their villages. The national government of Niger has recently extended a state of emergency in the Tillabery region which was first introduced in 2017.

Moreover, the global sanitary crisis has heavily impacted on the operational context, including due to measures taken by the Government of Niger to limit the propagation of the virus. These measures had important consequences for humanitarian actors in the field.

During the month of September, the security situation remained volatile and unpredictable in the areas bordering Mali and Burkina Faso. A security incident end of August has caused the displacement of some 6,500 Malian refugees from the site of Ayerou to the city of Ayerou. We are currently working to reinforce the security environment of the site and are sensitizing the refugees to return once the security conditions will be in place.

Heavy floods have impacted on refugee and local populations, as well as their cattle and fields. Niger is by far the most affected country in West Africa. The Tillabery and Tahoua regions, including the sites of Ayerou, Ouallam, Abala and Intikane, as well as villages hosting IDPs and people from Burkina Faso, have been affected. 112 brick houses on the refugee site in Abala have been destroyed and some 700 emergency shelters in both regions are damaged. The floods have caused important delays regarding food distribution, shelter distribution and sanitary evacuations.

In the light of the above, UNHCR has issued an Emergency Declaration and declared a Level 2 Emergency in Niger in February 2020, which was extended for another 6 months in September 2020.