IOM, Partners Relocate Displaced Malians from Niger's South-western Border

IOM, in partnership with the Government of Niger and UNHCR, has
relocated more than 500 vulnerable Malian families from insanitary
and overcrowded makeshift settlements in and around the
south-western border village of Sinegodar to a safe site away from
the volatile border region.

The operation, which was launched on 17 March, has so far
succeeded in relocating 2,114 individuals from Sinegodar to Abala,
some 80 kilometres to the south.

"Some of the Malians in Sinegodar have told IOM they are
reluctant to be relocated further south since they hope to return
home to Mali as soon as security conditions permit," says Abibatou
Wane, IOM's Chief of Mission in Niger.

"Apart from security considerations, this relocation is
essential to alleviate the pressure on local populations living in
food insecure areas and villages such as Sinegodar, which simply
cannot meet the needs of so many newly arrived people," she

Prior to departure, IOM staff registered the departing families
and ensured that everyone was fit to travel. It also provided water
and high energy biscuits. IOM medics were on hand to assist
vulnerable people with special needs.

Some 28,000 people, including at least 4,500 Niger nationals,
have crossed the border into Niger to escape fighting in northern
Mali between government forces and fighters from the Mouvement
National de Libération de l'Azawad (MNLA).

IOM is now working with international and local partners to
continue the registration of Malians who are scattered across
inhospitable desert border areas and to organize their relocation
further south.

Despite the assistance provided by humanitarian agencies, living
conditions in the border area continue to be difficult for Malians
and the local population alike. According to Niger's Early Warning
System (SAP), more than six million Nigeriens are in need of food

"A combination of drought, insecurity and population inflows
from neighbouring Mali and Libya has further aggravated the
situation in a region which is already facing severe food shortages
and malnutrition. To cope with increased food prices and shortages,
families are now having one meal a day. Others have sold whatever
they had and migrated to urban areas in search of jobs," says

For more information please contact:

Abibatou Wane

IOM Niger

Tel: +227 905 43 241

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