Gunmen suspected to be militants of non-state armed groups (NSAGs) regularly carried out asymmetric attacks against military outposts and patrols in Tillaberi and Diffa regions. On June 24th, dozens of civilians were abducted in Diffa and Tillaberi regions, including 12 staffs from a United Nations implementing partner, in Bossey-Bangou (Tillaberi).
24 children between 12 and 15 years old (11 girls) were kidnapped by non-state armed group members in Toumour and Gueskerou communes. The incidents happened during night attacks. Compared to last month, children abduction has increased in the month of June with a total of 24 children abducted by NSAGs.
In June 2020, the Rapid Response Mechanism (RRM) recorded 6 alerts on displacement of people following non-state army groups attacks. Rapid assessments (9 multi-sector assessments, 8 rapid protection assessments and 1 flash assessment) were conducted in the Diffa, Tahoua, Tillaberi and Maradi regions. RRM actors also provided NFI assistance to approximately 280 displaced households for 1,955 beneficiaries.
Instability in the region, leading to humanitarian access challenges, as well as the insufficiency of funding to support child protection in emergency activities, remain key issues in Diffa region. In the Tillaberi and Tahoua region, access to beneficiaries remain a challenge due to security issues especially at the border with Burkina Faso, and a lack of child protection actors with expertise. Gender based violence in children remain an important risk in the region.
Situation Overview & Humanitarian Needs
Humanitarian Needs Overview: According to the 2020 Humanitarian Needs Overview (HNO) published in January 2020, 2.9 million people in Niger need humanitarian assistance, including 1.6 M children. The needs analysis shows the persistence of five major crises affecting the country: food insecurity, malnutrition, epidemics, floods and population movements due to conflict or migration. The 2020 Humanitarian Response Plan was launched in February 2020: 1,8 million people are targeted for a budget of 399,9 M USD. This HRP is currently under revision to include new humanitarian needs appeared after the COVID-19 outbreak in the country. In partnership with government and NGOs, UNICEF continues to provide multisectoral and coordinated assistance to affected population, both through an emergency approach to assist the most vulnerable populations immediately after a shock, and through longer terms interventions to guarantee durable solutions.
Tillaberi and Tahoua: Access remains very limited due to continuous insecurity, to a cumbersome civil-military coordination process; field missions are frequently cancelled due to incidents and/or armed group activities. Lack of access is slowing down program implementation.
Diffa: The presence of several active non-state armed groups and the multiplication of their actions, especially against civilians, suggest that the situation in the area will continue to deteriorate in the next months.
COVID-19 pandemic: Following the confirmation of the first positive case of COVID-19 on March 19th, 2020 in the capital city Niamey, UNICEF has been working closely with the Government and its partners to step up the response and prevent further proliferation of the COVID-19 virus in the country, already facing the consequences of multiple crisis (nutrition, conflicts, natural disasters). As of the end of the reporting period, Niger registered 1,075 cases of COVID-19, 943 patients healed, 67 deaths and a lethality rate of 6.23%. The number of confirmed cases among health care providers was 184. Since June 16th (29 active cases), an increase in the daily growth rate of COVID-19 cases was observed. Those cases were mainly imported from neighboring countries. An updated version of the Global Response Plan to Coronavirus Pandemic of the Government of Niger was released at the end of May, with a reinforced multisectoral approach, and specific sectorial plans (resilience of education system, revised plan to support populations affected by nutritional and food insecurity, analysis and proposed measures to address socio-economic impacts of the disease). UNICEF continues to assist particularly the Ministry of Health (MoH), in the field of risk communication/community engagement (RCCE), infection prevention and control (IPC), supply and logistics, epidemiological surveillance and healthcare provision. Considering the overall slowing down of the new cases, the Niger government decided to suspend some of the measures in place to control COVID-19 transmission and schools resumed their activities starting on 1st June. UNICEF was supporting the back to school activities by providing the Ministry of Education with Education and WASH supplies, technical assistance, key messages about COVID-19 prevention and the development of a monitoring system based on RapidPro. Moreover, the Country Office was closely working with Child Protection actors to ensure that the needs of children on the move are met. UNICEF is co- leading 3 of the 8 sub-committees established by the MoH (RCCE, IPC and logistics) at central and sub-national level and is an active member of the others. UNICEF is also participating to the UN COVID-19 crisis group and has been appointed UN supply and procurement coordinator for COVID-19 pandemic.