Niger crisis: Hundreds seek refuge in neighbouring towns

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DIFFA, Niger

Hundreds of people fleeing conflict in the south-east of Niger are crossing into the neighbouring towns of Diffa, Damasak, Koublé, and Maiduguri for safety and humanitarian assistance, local media reports.

According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the upsurge in violence is increasing suffering among the local populace especially women and children.

It added that recent assaults have displaced more than 18,000 people who are in dire need of psychosocial support as Jihadist terrorist group Boko Haram target communities, security and defence forces and fuel communal tensions leaving hundreds dead, and sores displaced.

Additionally, UNHCR says that the refugee crisis is severe with limited financial support, food shortages, lack of enough medical supplies, insecurity, shortage in shelter, and insufficient basic aid items for the displaced.

Speaking to reporters in Geneva UNHCR spokesperson Adrian Edwards agreed that “Help is needed urgently especially as many refugees and locals have been displaced several times in recent months”

The Minister for Africa Harriett Baldwin stressed that UNHCR will continues to work with the authorities and partners to provide immediate support to refugees and host communities as well as work on long-term recovery and development initiatives in the Diffa region.

Further, UNHCR noted that in collaboration with the government of Niger and humanitarian partners like International Red Cross Society, World Food Organisation, Médecins Sans Frontières and others, they will relocate some 10,000 refugees from locations close to the border, to the Sayam Forage refugee camp, which is already hosting more than 15,000 refugees.

Local media also said that the newly displaced people have merged with both Nigerian refugees, Chadian and local villagers.