Niger, one of the most active migrant transit countries in the Sahel region, faces multiple emergencies. COVID-19, continuing security threats and generations of deep-seated poverty have contributed to a growing humanitarian crisis, with more than half a million internally displaced persons (IDPs) and their host communities in need of essential services. Another 135,000 vulnerable migrants also need assistance in Niger in 2021.
In order to provide much-needed assistance, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) today requests $ 121 million to provide essential support to migrants, internally displaced persons (IDPs) and host communities in 2021.
The continuous returns of migrants from Algeria, as well as migratory movements through Niger, to and from Algeria and Libya, leave migrants without shelter, food, water and healthcare. In addition to these essential humanitarian interventions, IOM is equally committed to promoting stability and social cohesion among host communities, internally displaced persons and migrants.
Despite the official closure of land borders since March 19, migrants continue to travel to, through and out of Niger on long-standing migration routes, mainly to Libya and Algeria. IOM assists stranded migrants through its humanitarian operations (on the border with Algeria) and with search and rescue operations in the Agadez region of northern Niger, after which many migrants receive assistance in one of the six IOM transit centers in Niger.
“In 2020, IOM assisted more than 9,000 migrants stranded in Niger, most of whom came from countries in the West and Central Africa region,” said Barbara Rijks, IOM Head of Mission in Niger. “Many of these migrants have been supported with the voluntary return to their respective countries of origin, despite the official closure of the borders, through a humanitarian corridor established with the Government of Niger.”
More than 2,100 Nigerians who returned were also assisted with their COVID-19 isolation and subsequent assistance to their areas of origin once they arrived in Niger. Other IOM offices in collaboration with the government of Niger, including its consular missions, have organized official convoys for stranded Nigerians from various West African countries.
Some 3.8 million Nigerians will need assistance in 2021 according to the Overview of Humanitarian Needs released by the Niger Humanitarian Country Team. IOM Niger plans to increase its level of assistance in areas that have been affected by different crises, including natural disasters and insecurity as a result of the increasing activity of violent extremist organizations in Niger.
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