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Niger/Maradi: Population Movement - Emergency Plan of Action - DREF No. MDRNE023 Final Report

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Description of the disaster

Description of the disaster Following the deterioration of security situation in the northwestern states of Nigeria, Sokoto, Katsina and Zamfara, the neighbouring Maradi region of Niger has experienced a rise of insecurity due to armed groups, militias, and unidentified criminal gangs, starting in April 2019. Despite security measures taken by the Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria by deploying military and police, the situation deteriorated rapidly, causing a population movement towards the department (local government) of Guidan Roumdji (Maradi Region). The number of refugees identified by the UNHCR in collaboration with the National Refugee Eligibility Commission (CNE) as of 10 June 2019 was 16,871 people (3,220 households).

In view of this situation, humanitarian coordination meetings were held under the joint leadership of the Governor of the Maradi region and UNHCR. These meetings resulted in a joint needs assessment between 9 and 10 June 2019. The meetings also included the government’s technical services involved in the humanitarian issues and associated the United Nations agencies and other humanitarian organizations such as Niger Red Cross.

To provide support to these refugee populations in Maradi, Niger Red Cross Society, with support from the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) initially launched a DREF operation for CHF 237,243 targeting 15,000 people (2,143 households) for a three-month period covering from 24 June to 24 September 2019. Due to delays in administrative procedures, the field teams effectively started the implementation of the DREF activities on 17 July 2019 with the deployment of a Surge Support. At that time, the UNHCR monitored the context trend which revealed an increase in violence followed by a growing number of incoming refugees. These movements were the result of regular attacks by armed groups. The UNHCR's tracking, therefore, presented evolutionary statistical data ranging from 16,871 to 35,000 people recorded in July 2019. This increase in the number of refugees in Maradi Region had a negative impact on basic social sectors such as food security, education, health, water, hygiene, and sanitation. The needs expressed in terms of health, WASH, food security, nutrition, shelter, household items and protection (child protection, sexual and gender-based violence, psychosocial care, people with special needs and peaceful coexistence) thus increased accordingly. An additional joint multi-sector assessment was conducted from 27 to 28 August 2019. The aim was to identify existing needs that could be met before the relocation of refugees to the villages of opportunity chosen by the authorities. Government agencies, the UNHCR, the Niger Red Cross, the IFRC, the Spanish Red Cross and ICRC (working on Restoration of Family Links for unaccompanied children), were part of this assessment.

Considering the increased needs mentioned above, the NS requested an extension the DREF operation timeframe by three months with an increase of the budget to CHF 482,282 and an upwards revision of the target population to 30,000 beneficiaries – this was materialized in Operation Update 1. In the run-up to this DREF, several concrete actions had been taken for the benefit of refugees and host populations as well.

Prior to the above, it is important to mention that by 30 April 2019, the UNHCR and the government (National Refugee Eligibility Commission, CNE) had carried out the biometric registration of 36,469 refugees (9,959 households), 67% of whom were minors, 23% women and 10% men. In addition, the number of unregistered refugees in the region has increased to a total of 26,953, due to a massive influx in April 2020. However, registration has been stopped since the start of the year 2020 due to a lack of funding. The number of internally displaced people (IDPs) has also surged since late March, reaching over 19,000 people. According to the UNHCR1, the area is currently hosting more than 70,000 Nigerian refugees. The overwhelming majority of them live in more than 100 host villages, spread across a 20-kilometre strip along the border.