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. The situation has deteriorated dramatically in early 2015, with the first attacks on Niger territory. In May 2015, the authorities have decided to evacuate the population of the Niger region of the Lake Chad Islands.
Following the first attacks in the Diffa region, the situation 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 1. At the request of the authorities, UNHCR has established two camps: the refugee camp of Sayam Forage and the IDP camp of Kabelawa. The latter has been 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 themselves. The fertile areas have seen their populations displaced (Lake Chad, Komadougou River), the pastoral routes have been destroyed, and cross-border exchange and trade (seasonal migration, trade of goods) are deeply damaged. 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.
UNHCR has a sub-Office in Diffa town, 5 kilometers from the Nigerian border.
The latest figures released by the government in July 2018 estimate the total displaced population in the region to be around 250,000. This includes 118,868 Nigerian refugees, 25,731 returnees and 104,288 IDPs. The population of Sayam Forage camp has been biometrically registered by UNHCR and the Government. The total population of the camp is 16,963 at the end of May 2019. BIMS registration is currently being carried out for the entire out-of-camp displaced population in the region, including refugees, IDPs and returnees. As per the end of June 2019, over 201,246 displaced people in the region had been biometrically registered.
Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees