UNHCR, the United Nations Refugee Agency, is alarmed by the rise in violence in northwestern Nigeria, which has fueled displacement to the neighboring region of Maradi, Niger, where violence is also rife. increase.
Fearing armed groups and community clashes, more than 7,660 refugees have fled Nigeria in Maradi this year and 3,500 other citizens of Niger have been internally displaced. Most of the refugees are women and children, displaced by recent attacks in Nigerian state of Sokoto.
UNHCR applauds Niger’s generosity as it continues to grant access to asylum, despite border restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
UNHCR teams in Niger recorded a spike in deadly violence inside Maradi itself, with more casualties and serious incidents reported in January and February 2021 than in the second half of 2020. Refugees describe gruesome killings, kidnappings for ransom and looted villages. Many have also been caught in clashes between farmers and pastoralists and vigilance, as vigilante groups set up in most villages.
People fleeing urgently need water, food, shelter and health services. Most fled empty-handed in a rush to save their lives.
UNHCR is providing vital assistance and protection and has stepped up its border surveillance activities. Our teams also register new arrivals to identify people with vulnerabilities and other specific needs.
We are working closely with the Nigerien authorities to move refugees away from the border and to safer locations where basic assistance and services are available. Since October 2019, some 11,320 refugees have been resettled in other villages where UNHCR and its partners have strengthened water, health, sanitation and education infrastructure for the displaced and their hosts, thus contributing to ease the pressure on communities which have shown incredible generosity but have limited resources.
Armed groups in the Sahel and Lake Chad regions have fueled one of the world’s fastest growing displacement and protection crises. To date, more than 3.2 million people have been displaced by violence in the Lake Chad basin.
Humanitarian efforts to respond to the emergency are dangerously overburdened – UNHCR’s operation in the Lake Chad Basin requires $ 128.6 million and is only 10% funded. UNHCR urges the international community to strengthen its support to the region and to help governments eliminate the causes of this forced displacement and stimulate strategic and sustainable development.
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