Over 7,000 Nigerian refugees flee to Niger
Some 7,600 Nigerian refugees have reportedly fled to Niger since January this year.
The United Nations which made the revelation said the violence in north-western Nigeria has caused its citizens to flee into neighbouring Niger, where violence is also on the rise.
The UN refugee agency UNHCR attributed the development to the fear of armed groups and communal clashes in Nigeria.
“Most of the refugees are women and children, displaced following recent attacks in Nigeria’s Sokoto state,” spokesperson Boris Cheshirkov said.
The UNHCR said people fleeing are in urgent need of water, food, shelter, and health services. Most have fled empty handed in the rush to save their lives.
It said officials are providing life-saving assistance and protection and have scaled up border monitoring activities.
“Our teams are also registering new arrivals to identify people with vulnerabilities and other specific needs,” a statement from the agency said.
The Maradi region, in southern Niger, now hosts nearly 100,000 displaced people, including 77,000 Nigerian refugees, who have fled relentless attacks in Katsina, Sokoto and Zamfara states.
According to the UNHCR armed groups in the Sahel and Lake Chad regions have also been fuelling one of the world’s fastest growing displacement and protection crises, with millions displaced.
The global agency said “Humanitarian efforts to respond to the emergency are dangerously overstretched –UNHCR’s Lake Chad Basin operation requires US$128.6 million and is only 10 per cent funded.
UNHCR is now urging the international community to boost support for the region and to help governments root out the causes of this forced displacement and to boost strategic and sustainable development.
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