The EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration, funded under the European Emergency Trust Fund for Africa, continues its work on the desertic regions of West Africa to bring assistance to thousands of stranded migrants amid the COVID-19 crisis.
In Niger, 1,400 stranded Nigerien migrants were assisted after returning from Burkina Faso. They were mainly miners who fled violence last month in Burkina Faso’s southern district.
The Government of Niger agreed to open the border to facilitate this assisted voluntary return movement and requested IOM to support their nationals on a humanitarian site, managed by the Ministry of Humanitarian action, where they will complete a mandatory 14-day quarantine.
By repurposing existing funds, a site on the outskirts of the country’s capital, Niamey, was prepared. Over ten days, over 500 shelters, built 40 latrines and showers and installed 30 handwashing stations have been erected. Solar lighting units were deployed for the 1,400-strong cohort. Other partners on the ground contributing to address critical gaps, include UNICEF, the World Health Organization, UNHCR, and Luxembourg/Niger Red Cross.
Across Niger, the EU-IOM Joint Initiative currently allows to hosts close to 1,760 migrants in transit centres and to assisted 1,600 migrants stranded in the desert since the border closures. To avoid any COVID-19 outbreak, additional facilities have been rented and infection, control and prevention measures have been stepped up in six transit centres, which now are at full capacity.
Nonetheless, inflation in the prices of many goods, and high levels of unforeseen costs - notably those generated by the quarantine such as shelter, hygiene and sanitation facilities, transport, and food and water supplies - jeopardize sustainable provision of assistance in the country.
“While the borders remain closed, the Government of Niger is appealing to bordering states to receive their nationals stranded in Niger through a humanitarian corridor” said the Minister of Interior of Niger, Mr. Mohamed Bazoum. “This follows IOM’s assistance to the authorities in the Agadez region to strengthen quarantine measures for migrants who arrived in the last month,” the minister added.
- Publication date
- 6 May 2020
- Region and Country
- Improved migration management
- International Organization for Migration