IOM Opens Agadez Transit Centre in Niger Desert
Niger - IOM has opened its fourth Niger transit and assistance center for migrants in the Saharan city of Agadez. The new center will normally accommodate up to 400 people, but will be able to host up to 1,000 in periods of crisis.
Agadez is one of the main migratory crossroads for irregular migrants from sub-Saharan Africa trying to reach Europe through Libya or Algeria.
An estimated 40,000 and 80,000 migrants transit annually through Niger, including Niger nationals and migrants from other West African countries including Gambia, Senegal, Mali, Burkina Faso and Cote d’Ivoire.
Sub-Saharan migrants expelled from Libya and Algeria are also often sent back home through Niger. In 2013, over 18,000 expelled migrants arrived in northern Niger. IOM Niger assisted 9,300 of the most vulnerable.
In Niger IOM has provided emergency and life-saving humanitarian assistance to expelled migrants, including registration, accommodation, food, medical care, psychological support, basic non-food items and transportation to their place of origin since 2011.
It launched its operations at the peak of the Libyan crisis with funding from the US State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM) and the UN Central Emergency Fund (CERF).
The new Agadez transit center, which is funded by the Italian Ministry of Interior and supported by the Niger government, will reinforce IOM Niger’s capacity to help the most vulnerable stranded migrants.
IOM currently operates transit centers at Dirkou on the Libyan border, Arlit on the Algerian border and in the capital, Niamey, where migrants wait for their documents to travel to their countries of origin.
“This new facility will help us not only to better assist migrants, but also to establish a dialogue on the dangers of irregular migration with the thousands of migrants transiting to Agadez. They are often victims of disinformation,” said IOM Niger Chief of Mission Giuseppe Loprete.
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