Niamey – International Organization for Migration (IOM) Deputy Director General Ugochi Daniels today lauded Niger’s leadership assisting vulnerable migrants, thousands of whom find themselves stranded in the West African country every year.
“Niger is a champion country for the Global Compact for Migration and has demonstrated its leadership in promoting safe and regular migration through its support to vulnerable migrants in transit and addressing needs of displaced persons,” said Daniels, IOM’s DDG for Operations.
“IOM is committed to continue working with the Government of Niger and partners at the highest level to continue promoting dignified and safe migration from, to and within Niger.’’
Niger is facing multi-faceted humanitarian crises precipitated by the security situation along the borders with Nigeria, Burkina Faso and Mali, and climate change which is shrinking available natural resources leading to communal conflicts, as well as migration and internal displacement.
DDG Daniels, IOM’s Senior Regional Adviser for Sub-Saharan Africa, Aïssata Kane, and the Regional Director for West and Central Africa, Christopher Gascon, began a three-day visit to Niger on Thursday.
Niger also hosts many vulnerable, stranded migrants, mostly from other West African countries, who are in dire need of humanitarian assistance and dignified return and reintegration assistance to their countries of origin. In 2019 and 2020, IOM Niger facilitated the highest number of returns globally, with 16,414 in 2019 and 9,069 in 2020, respectively, requiring strong collaboration and support from partners.
In 2021, IOM requested USD 121 million to respond to the evolving needs of around 1.3 million people who are impacted by the humanitarian crisis or at risk of displacement. To date, the Organization has less than half of these funds (47 per cent).
The senior officials and partners will visit the IOM transit centre in Agadez in the Sahara, a hub for West African migrants travelling to Libya, Algeria and Europe. In 2020 alone, the centre hosted 10,059 migrants, despite the challenges related to COVID-19. Through its Migrant Resource and Response Mechanism, and with donor support, especially the European Union, IOM provides shelter, food, protection, medical and psychosocial assistance to migrants.
The Organization also works closely with the Ministry of Interior and consular sections from various west African countries to assist stranded migrants with travel documents to enable their returns home, where they receive economic, social, and psychosocial assistance. Between 2016 and 2021, approximately 71,000 migrants received direct assistance in one of IOM’s six transit centres in Niger.
In addition, natural disasters, especially recurring floods, create havoc in communities; during the last rainy season in Niger, between July and September, 238,078 people have been affected by floods. To date, around 150,000 of them have benefited from shelter and non-food items assistance. An estimated 110,000 people will need support by the end of the year.
In Niger, the humanitarian-development-nexus approach is adopted to respond to immediate needs and also tackle drivers of vulnerability and instability.