More than 240,000 Displaced in Diffa Region

A makeshift refugee shelter beside the highway east of Diffa, Niger. A makeshift refugee shelter beside the highway east of Diffa, Niger. © UNHCR/Boubacar Bamba

21 June 2016
Violence from Boko Haram has caused the displacement of over 240,000 people in Diffa Region, Niger.

The United Nations announced today that the violence caused by Boko Haram insurgents has uprooted more than 240,000 people over the past three years in Niger’s Diffa region. Many of them have resettled in a region previously inhabited by a single linguistic group, and this has caused further tension.

According to Viviane Van Steirteghem, representative of the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in Niger, as many 60,000 to 70,000 people have arrived on a main road to settle after 3 June. This has resulted in increased pressure on local water resources, which the newcomers depend on for their families and their cattle.

Ms. Van Steirteghem has visited the Diffa twice in the past 14 days to assist in the coordination of water as it appears that the people will be settling for some time. UNICEF is also planning on distributing mosquito nets for families to protect themselves from malaria during the rainy season. Despite a massive vaccination campaign in December 2015, cases of measles have been reported. Other concerns include diarrheal diseases, respiratory tract diseases and the importation of cholera.

The majority of inhabitants and the most vulnerable are women and children. Some children are unaccompanied, and many are traumatized. UNICEF is also preparing to protective measures for women who are vulnerable to gender-based violence, especially when they go out at night to get water.

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