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Hundreds seek Niger refuge after fleeing Nigeria

12 September 2016, 15:46Okoro Chinedu

Lagos - Showing immense stress and fatigue, more than 200 families fleeing the Boko Haram terror group and hunger in Nigeria and Chad have arrived in the east Diffa region of Niger to seek refuge.

They have been accommodated in the city of Toumour.

Most of the new arrivals are women and children and, according to their testimonies, they walked for four or five days, though only at night, for fear of being attacked by Boko Haram or detained by the army.

Many of the new arrivals were hosted by the local population, many of them displaced persons and refugees themselves, and who continue to show great solidarity with the new waves of displacement and share what limited resources they have.

Despite this support, 77 of the families newly arrived in Toumour were living in poor conditions, without enough food and any basic materials.

To alleviate this situation, an Médecins sans frontières (MSF) team has distributed domestic items, blankets, mosquito nets and hygiene kits to these families.

Also read: New armed group threatens attacks in Niger

With the arrival of the new refugees, there have been some medical consultations linked to fatigue and stress at the health centre in Toumour, supported regularly by MSF.

The stress and fatigue have been attributed to long days of walking and the fear of being attacked or arrested during the journey covering hundreds of kilometres.

MSF has also strengthened the nutritional supplementation for the newly displaced children under 5 years old and their families.

Youssouf Demdelé, MSF Deputy Head of mission in Niger, said given the critical situation in the areas of Nigeria and Chad bordering with Niger, it was likely Toumour would continue to receive more refugees in a precarious condition as this last group.

Demdelé noted the population had not been able to grow their own food and were dependent on aid.

“In addition, we are in the middle of the malaria season. There are several humanitarian agencies working in Diffa but there are still areas where more help is needed.” 

- CAJ News


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