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news | June 04, 2014 | Niger | Rehabilitation

A complex humanitarian situation, in the South East of Niger, following mass arrivals of displaced people from Nigeria

In the Diffa region, the arrival of Nigerian refugees and returnees from Nigeria is one of the main preoccupations for humanitarian actors since fighting broke out in May 2013. Episodes of violence that have disturbed the Nigerian states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa have led to almost 50,000 people having to look for shelter in the region, according to OCHA, increasing the vulnerability of host communities that were already in a dire situation of chronicle food insecurity and frequent flooding. ACTED has been intervening in the region since July 2013 to bring support to host and displaced populations.

A strong sense of solidarity between host and displaced populations

The arrival of displaced populations in the Diffa region has been taking place in a particular context: a strong sense of solidarity between host and displaced populations, a dispersed refugee population due to lack of space in the camps, and an assistance strategy focalized on strengthening host population capacity.

In this complex context, with a large amount of needs that need to be covered, ACTED in partnership with Impact Initiative, is working on a project that aims to collect data for humanitarian actors working in the zone, to improve the way information is managed and needs are identified, and to provide an efficient response to this crisis.

Humanitarian actors face the challenge of identifying the most vulnerable people and the most essential needs in a situation that is constantly changing and in which displaced populations are extremely dispersed.

To gain a clear view of the situation, ACTED began in 2013 to map sites for displaced people and to collect data on existing infrastructure and humanitarian actors and ongoing interventions in the region. In 2014, ACTED is pursuing this process by identifying new host sites and by producing and updating related maps. During the months of March and April 2014, 23 new sites were identified and a map on the 19 sites in the Lake Chad area was produced.

Covering energy needs

Since January 2014, ACTED has been developing a focus on energy for health centres and school canteens to sustainably support community services in the region. 7 health centres and 5 schools benefiting from the school canteen programme by WFP, are being supported to cover their energy needs. Photovoltaic panels to ensure electricity during frequent electricity cuts that hamper their service will soon be setup in health centres and management committees will be strengthened to make sure the material is well maintained.

Gas distributions will also be organized in targeted schools to reduce their dependency on fuel wood. ACTED will also hold trainings on the equipment and how to use it safely and will strengthen management committees in autonomously purchasing the gas.

By working at a community service level, ACTED is seeking to bring a sustainable and integrated approach, strengthening host communities’ capacity to host displaced populations.