Growing humanitarian crisis in Niger as more civilians displaced by Boko Haram attacks

Two major Boko Haram attacks in Niger's Diffa region in the last 6 weeks have led to at least another 40,000 civilians being forced from their homes in what is becoming a growing humanitarian crisis, says Oxfam. Since the conflict began two years ago, a total of 280,000 people have fled their homes in the Diffa area. Across the Lake Chad Basin at least 2.7 million people have been displaced due to conflict.

Oxfam and 11 other international agencies working in Niger have called on the United Nations and its member states to increase diplomatic and financial commitments to Niger to alleviate the crisis.

Mohammed Chikhaoui, Oxfam Country Director in Niger, said: “The situation in the region is devastating. People are living under trees or wherever else they can find a bit of shelter. The rainy season has started, meaning that people need urgent support now otherwise they will be at a significantly increased risk of disease.”

Oxfam is working in Diffa to help affected communities access water, hygiene and sanitation, food and improved livelihoods and the agency plans to scale up its work to meet the needs of 100,000 people affected by the worsening emergency. Efforts by Oxfam, other humanitarian organizations, and the Government of Niger have been limited by lack of funds and security concerns. Before this recent emergency, only 28% of the funding needs had been met and now the scale of the crisis has soared and even more assistance is required. 

“Right now, people need assistance, but they also need protection. Only days after their displacement, another attack took place at one of the displacement sites. People we talk to are scared and they don’t know which way to turn. They need assistance and services that put their safety and dignity first,” Chikhaoui said.

Villages and towns in Diffa have been torn apart by two years of conflict and restrictions on the once-lively economy at the Niger-Nigeria border. The precarious security situation has shattered livelihoods as markets have closed, fishing is banned, and cross-border trade is at a standstill. The needs of displaced communities are immediate, but they will also need time, commitment, and resources to fully recover.

Notes to editors

  • Oxfam and 11 other INGOs working in Niger have issued a joint statement calling on United Nations Member States meeting during the ECOSOC Humanitarian Affairs Segment in New York this week to increase diplomatic efforts and financial aid to support the humanitarian response in Niger:
  • 2.7 million people have been displaced across the Lake Chad Basin: see OCHA Lake Chad Basin Crisis Update 4 (3 June 2016)
  • 280,000 people have been displaced by the Boko Haram crisis in Diffa: figure as reported by the Government of Niger (16 June 2016)
  • The number of civilians killed in the attacks in Yebi and Bosso are not yet known. Due to displacement and insecurity totals are likely to be under-reported. The number of people displaced by the attacks in Yebi and Bosso could be between 40,000-75,000: see OCHA Niger: Diffa (Bosso-Yebi) Flash Update 2 (6 June 2016) and OCHA Niger: Diffa (Bosso-Yebi) Flash Update 4 (9 June 2016)
  • The Lake Chad Basin humanitarian response is only 16% funded: see OCHA Lake Chad Basin Crisis Update 4 (3 June 2016)

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