Niger: CARE supports refugees from northern Nigeria

Maloum Ali escaped from her hometown Damassak in northern Nigeria when it was attacked in late 2014. She now lives in a transit site in neighbouring Niger where CARE supports refugees and host communities with food, kitchen utensils, hygiene kits, cash and water.

More than 100,000 refugees, fleeing insecurity and violence in northern Nigeria, are now living in the Diffa region of Niger. Diffa is already suffering from chronic food insecurity with over half of the population in need of support. The influx of refugees and returnees has made it even more difficult to share the scarce resources.

CARE has been working in Diffa for many years. We were one of a handful of agencies working in the region when the crisis escalated towards the end of 2014. Our teams currently distribute food, household supplies and cash grants to vulnerable people; they deliver water to a refugee camp; and they organise transport for the refugees. So far, we’ve helped 58,000 people since August 2014.

Binta Abdoukarim and children

Binta Abdoukarim (above) fled her home in Nigeria with her four children and husband. “We spent a day in the forest hiding from the attacks until we finally managed to cross the river,” she says. The 20-year-old is glad to be safe from violence and to receive monthly food rations distributed by CARE. They contain cereals, oil, pulses and high-nutrition rations for small children and breast-feeding mothers.

Tents at Gagamari village

Gagamari is a small village around 12km from the border with Nigeria. People fleeing the violence in northern Nigeria now live in sites like Gagamari, mostly under tarps, in straw huts or other temporary structures. The new arrivals receive some basic household items (mats, jerrycans, kitchen utensils) and food. Eastern Niger is in the heart of the Sahel zone and characterised by strong winds and sand.

CARE's Laminou Abagana talks to Djuweratou Hassan

CARE’s Laminou Abagana (above right) talks to Djuweratou Hassan, who fled her hometown of Damassak in Nigeria last November. She now lives in Gagamari, a small village which serves as a transit site for refugees. CARE helps with the delivery of food and household supplies, water, hygiene items for women and girls, transport, cash and other activities.

Unloading relief supplies from a lorry

On 18 April, CARE organised a distribution of relief items to families who have fled from northern Nigeria to Niger. The CARE packages contain kitchen utensils, mats, blankets, mosquito nets, buckets and soap. Most families have fled from sudden attacks, ran for their lives and could not bring anything with them. CARE is a partner of the UN Refugee Agency to deliver life-saving aid in eastern Niger.

Woman and child in Chetamari, Niger

A refugee woman with her baby daughter in Chetamari, eastern Niger. The village is 15km from the border with Nigeria. Most families fled on foot and crossed the river swimming or with makeshift floats. CARE supports infants and breast-feeding mothers with food supplements of high nutritional value.

CARE staff member and refugee inspect relief supplies

Gambo Moussa (above right) inspects the goods she received from a CARE distribution in eastern Niger.“My three kids slept under one blanket,” she says. “Now they each can have their own, plus a mosquito net.” Ibrahim Boucary (above left) manages CARE’s work in eastern Niger and is content that the distribution went smoothly. He said:

It is important to support these people, they have lost everything.

Read our media release: Urgent need for humanitarian assistance in Western Africa refugee crisis

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News and stories are provided by CARE staff working to support our emergency responses and long-term development programmes.