Media Advisory: UN agency chiefs to visit Niger 4 to 7 May

Briefing Notes, 4 May 2012

This is a summary of what was said by UNHCR spokesperson Adrian Edwards to whom quoted text may be attributed at the press briefing, on 4 May 2012, at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.

The Executive Director of the United Nations World Food Programme, Ertharin Cousin, and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, António Guterres, are scheduled to arrive today in the drought-hit country of Niger, West Africa.

The two senior UN officials are to fly to the capital, Niamey and will spend two days visiting projects in Ouallam and Maradi where hunger and malnutrition have reached emergency levels. They will meet some of the tens of thousands of refugees in Mangaize, northern Niger, who have fled from fighting in neighbouring Mali, putting further strain on communities in Niger that are already facing a food crisis.

WFP has launched an emergency operation to provide food assistance to nearly 4 million people in Niger, and is working in partnership with UNHCR to support some 160,000 Malian refugees throughout the Sahel region. The High Commissioner and Executive Director aim to sensitize the international community and to mobilize its support for emergency assistance to the people affected by drought and as well as by instability in Mali.

For more information:

  • WFP
  • Malek Triki, WFP/Dakar Mob. +221 77 6375964
  • Vigno Hounkanli, PAM/Niamey +227 207 22320, Mob. +227 912 05585
  • Emilia Casella, WFP/Rome +39 06 6513 3854, Mob. +39 347 9450634
  • Elizabeth Byrs, WFP/Geneva, Mob. +41 79 473 4570
  • Bettina Luescher, WFP/New York, +1 646 5566909, Mob. +1 646 8241112
  • (WFP e-mail addresses: firstname.lastname@wfp.org).
  • UNHCR
  • - Niger
  • Helene Caux, +227 9237 2479, caux@unhcr.org
  • - Geneva
  • Melissa Fleming, +41 79 557 9120, fleming@unhcr.org
  • Fatoumata Lejeune-Kaba, +41 79 249 3483, lejeunek@unhcr.org
  • Adrian Edwards, +41 79 557 9120, edwards@unhcr.org

For additional data and information on the Sahel emergency, visit http://data.unhcr.org/MaliSituation/regional.php, www.unhcr.org, and www.wfp.org.

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Thousands Start Afresh in Niger After Fleeing Nigeria

In May 2013, the Nigerian government, responding to a surge in violence in the north-east of the country, declared a state of emergency in the volatile states of Borno, Adawama and Yobe. Many people fled to neighbouring Niger's Diffa region and to the Far North Region of Cameroon. Fresh violence in January this year has forced thousands more to flee to both countries. UNHCR photographer Hélène Caux visited the towns of Bosso and Diffa in Niger's Diffa region shortly before the latest influx. She met some of the Nigerian refugees who had fled earlier waves of violence across the border. They told her of the violence they had seen, the losses they had suffered and their attempts to lead as normal a life as possible in Diffa, including sending their children to attend school. They are grateful to the communities that have welcomed and helped them in Niger.

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Relocation from the Border Country of Burkina Faso

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