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UNHCR Niger Factsheet: Diffa Region, January 2021

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Almost 12,000 new arrivals in Sayam Forage Camp during the second half of 2020

The Diffa region hosts 265,696* Nigerian refugees, internally displaced persons and Nigerien returnees. More than 80% of them live in spontaneous settlements.

Since April 2019, movements are restricted on many roads following attacks, kidnappings and the increased use of explosive devices.

The security situation has a strong negative impact on the economy of the region, reducing opportunities for both host and displaced populations.

Update on Achievements

Operational Context

Population movements and security situation

The Diffa region has been hosting Nigerian refugees fleeing terrorist violence in the northern states of Nigeria since 2013. In the wake of the first attacks on Niger soil in 2015, the situation has dramatically deteriorated. In May 2015, the authorities decided to evacuate the population living in the Niger region of the Lake Chad Islands. On the night of December 12-13, 2020; the town of Toumour, 75 kilometers east of Diffa, was the object of an armed attack claimed by Boko Haram. During this attack, which targeted civilian populations, 34 persons were killed including, ten by bullets, four by drowning and twenty by fire and around a hundred injured . Most of the inhabitants fled to the bush, some only returning the following day during the morning. This incident led to population displacements toward Diffa, a town located at 100 kilometers away. Located at 14 kilometers form the Nigerian border, Toumour host 20 000 Nigerians refugees, 8 000 internally displaced persons and 3 600 Nigerien returnees who still need humanitarian assistance.

This attack caused enormous damage, thus leaving populations in a heightened vulnerability. The first rapid assessments of need on the Toumour site following the attack show 20 600 people are in need of emergency assistance in terms of shelter, non-food items, security, food, WASH, health, protection and education. In collaboration with humanitarian partners and local authorities, UNHCR is organizing the emergency response for affected communities, however, recent floods of the Komadougou river made it difficult for aid workers to access Toumour.

Following the first attacks in the Diffa region in 2015, the population on the move has become increasingly mixed. The majority of the displaced are settled in more than 140 spontaneous sites, villages and towns along the one main road of 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 Kablewa. The latter was closed by the Government in June 2017 after a suicide bomb attack.

Since April 2019, movements are restricted on the Gueskerou, Toumour, Bosso roads following the discovery of explosive devices, successive attacks and kidnappings. The border with Nigeria has been closed in August 2019 which increases the price of essential goods for population. In 2020, attacks against the population including kidnappings, the trademark of Boko Haram, continue as threats towards humanitarian workers.

A total of 23 protection incidents were reported in the region during the month of December 2020 compared to 84 for the previous month, which represent a decrease of 72%. 57 individuals were victims during the reporting period against 151 in the previous month. This decrease may be linked to the deterioration of roads due to the flooding of the Komadougou river and the intensification of military operation in nigerain territory surrounding the border of Niger which force insurgents to move far away in the Lac Tchad bassin.