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Conflict and hunger

Niger

The International Rescue Committee provides vital support to Nigerian and Malian refugees fleeing violent conflicts, to Nigerien returnees and internally displaced persons, and to overstretched host communities.

Country facts
  • Total population: 17 million
  • People displaced by crisis: 291,000
  • Rank in Human Development Index: 188 of 188
IRC response
  • Started work in Niger: 2013
  • People assisted in 2015: 182,150
  • People we hope to reach per year by 2020: 508,780

Niger crisis briefing

Niger, a landlocked country in West Africa, is prone to political instability, chronic food insecurity and natural disaster. The IRC helps vulnerable Nigeriens meet urgent needs and provides support to refugees in neighboring countries and migrants in the desert.

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What caused the current crisis in Niger?

Since the 1980s, Niger has been ranked at the bottom of the Human Development Index. With one of the highest fertility rates placing chronic strain on basic services, the country is plagued by insecurity, disease outbreaks, and violence against women. Frequent droughts and floods leave farmers struggling to feed millions.

In addition to these challenges, Niger regularly absorbs influxes of refugees from neighboring countries, including Mali and Nigeria. Almost 250,000 people driven from their homes by the militant group Boko Haram now live in makeshift camps in Niger's Diffa region, and 42,000 people are displaced in the Tillaberi region following security incidents along the border. Niger is also West Africa’s hub for people on the move toward North Africa and Europe.

What are the main humanitarian challenges in Niger?

With one of the highest fertility rates in the world and refugees continuing to cross the border, basic resources such as food and water are dwindling in Niger. A new period of drought threatens to leave 2.5 million people without enough food, according to the United Nations.

Fewer than 5% of refugees live in camps; most reside with host families or in dangerous shelters, where the delivery of aid is not consistent. Malnutrition remains a chronic issue and many children do not have access to education.  

As violence continues to spread across the region, people live in fear and uncertainty, forced to keep moving in search of safety and resources. In many areas, displaced people struggle to survive without any help.

In addition to these challenges, Niger regularly absorbs influxes of refugees from neighboring countries, including Mali and Nigeria. Almost 250,000 people driven from their homes by the militant group Boko Haram now live in makeshift camps in Niger's Diffa region, and 42,000 people are displaced in the Tillaberi region following security incidents along the border. Niger is also West Africa’s hub for people on the move toward North Africa and Europe..

How does the IRC help in Niger?

We first began assisting Nigeriens in 2013, providing emergency and protection assistance to refugees and returning Nigeriens. Today, the IRC continues to work with local communities and support those in need.

Currently, we are focusing our efforts in the Diffa, Tillaberi and Agadez regions by:

•    providing rapid-response emergency relief for displaced Nigeriens and Nigerian refugees;
•    providing cash transfers, food vouchers and agricultural support to vulnerable families;
•    providing essential equipment and medicine to local health care centers;
•    digging wells to irrigate crops;
•    screening and treating severely malnourished children and offering training in nutrition and hygiene;
•    ensuring the welfare of refugees and migrants through child protection and prevention of violence against women.

What still needs to be done?

Download the IRC's Niger strategy action plan to learn more about our program priorities through 2020.

Our impact

In 2015, the IRC and our partner organisations in Niger provided:

98,000

people with access to clean drinking water and sanitation.

Niger has seen an influx of thousands of refugees fleeing violence in Nigeria. We’re working to ensure there is enough water for everyone.

Learn more about health.
47,000

men and women with information on preventing and responding to human rights abuses.

We work to foster good governance and a respect for human rights law.

Explore our work on empowerment.
5,000

people with emergency cash and asset transfers so they can provide for themselves and their families.

Cash support gives people caught in crisis flexibility to buy goods and services that meet their individual needs.

Read about economic wellbeing.

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