Urgent action for Niger crises - IOM
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Edited News | IOM

Urgent action for Niger crises - IOM

Niger - IOM calls for a humanitarian corridor to help stranded migrants home

The UN migration agency (IOM) strongly advocated on Friday for the establishment of a humanitarian corridor to organize the safe, dignified and voluntary return of migrants stranded in Niger to their countries of origin and facilitate aid delivery to conflict-affected areas.

“We are appealing for resources to make sure that we can continue providing essential services to these stranded migrants,” said Chris Gascon, IOM Regional Director for West and Central Africa, when briefing journalists at the UN in Geneva.

Following the 26 July military takeover, neighbouring countries closed their borders and flights were suspended.

According to the UN, Niger hosts more than 710,000 forcibly displaced people including refugees, asylum seekers and internally displaced persons. The majority of the migrants staying at IOM's transit centres across the country are from western Africa: Mali, Guinea, Senegal and Nigeria.  

In his call for the humanitarian corridor, Mr. Gascon stressed that at this time, “there are no possibilities for us to organize charter flights and consequently people will remain there for weeks and months.”

“Our capacity to assist them will, of course, depend a great deal on the resources that we can garnish to reach populations who are obviously vulnerable and in great need. At this time, we are somewhat limited in our capacity to do so,” Mr. Gascon said.

IOM’s operations in Niger are constrained by limited funding. The $430 million humanitarian appeal for Niger is currently only 30 per cent funded and to provide assistance to migrants in transit centers, the UN agency requires at least a million dollars a month.

Mr. Gascon underscored that the agency was managing seven transit centers, the main one being in Agadez in the northwest of the country. In total, IOM was hosting 4,800 migrants, he said, and the transit centres were 40 per cent over capacity.

The reported announcement of the country’s military leaders late Wednesday to bar UN agencies as well as non-governmental organisations from working in military operation zones will have further impacts on the aid delivery in Niger.

The UN’s humanitarian affairs coordination office (OCHA) said on Friday that it was reaching out to the de facto authorities in Niger to better understand the implications of this announcement.

Some 4.3 million people in Niger, mainly women and children, are dependent on aid.

 

-ends-

 

STORY: Urgent action for Niger crises - IOM

DURATION (TRT): 1’47”
SOURCE: UNTV CH
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH, NATS
ASPECT RATIO: 16:9
DATELINE: 1 September 2023, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND
FORMAT: HYBRID PRESS BRIEFING

  1. Exterior medium shot: UN flag alley, UN Geneva
  2. Wide shot: speakers behind podium, attendees at the press conference, screens with attendees
  3. SOUNDBITE (English) – Chris Gascon, IOM Regional Director for West and Central Africa: “We are appealing for resources to make sure that we can continue providing these essential services to these stranded migrants. In this vein as well, IOM is advocating for the establishment of a humanitarian corridor so that we can return people to their countries of origin. At this time, there are no possibilities for us to organize charter flights and consequently people will remain there for weeks and months.”
  4. Wide shot: attendees at the press conference, screens with speaker
  5. SOUNDBITE (English) – Chris Gascon, IOM Regional Director for West and Central Africa: “We are managing a number of transit centers, the principal one is in Agadez in the North-West of the country. We are presently hosting 4,800 migrants. This overwhelms pretty much the capacity that we have. The Agadez center itself can hold about a thousand people, the other transit centers are seven in total. We are all 40% over capacity at this point.”
  6. Wide shot: attendees at the press conference, screens with attendees, cameramen and sound engineers in the background
  7. SOUNDBITE (English) – Chris Gascon, IOM Regional Director for West and Central Africa: “Our capacity to assist them will, of course, depend a great deal on the resources that we can garnish to reach populations who are obviously vulnerable and in great need. At this time, we are somewhat limited in our capacity to do so.”
  8. Wide shot: speakers and attendees at the press conference, screens with speakers
  9. Medium shot: cameramen and sound engineers at the press conference
  10. Close shot: attendee asking a question at the press conference

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