Yawaré – On World Humanitarian Day on 19 August, the government of Niger and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) inaugurated the Yawaré transit centre for migrants and disaster victims, built and equipped with funding from the government of Japan.
Two months into Niger's rainy season, more than 57,000 people in the seven regions of the landlocked West African country have been affected by consecutive floods. UN OCHA declared that heavy rains have led to the loss of at least 27 lives, with more than 6,000 houses damaged, farmlands swamped, and hundreds of livestock killed.
The regions of Zinder, Diffa, Tillabéri and Maradi are among the hardest hit. According to local actors involved in flood preparedness, more than 350,000 people could be affected by floods this year in Niger.
“These unfortunate events call to mind not only the urgency of investing more in disaster management in order to mitigate the consequences and minimize the loss of life, but also the search for dedicated and adequate solutions for systematic evacuation options,” said United Nations Resident Coordinator in Niger, Louise Aubin.
The newly constructed transit centre and its facilities will allow the Niger General Directorate for Civil Protection to provide temporary shelter to flood-affected people, displaced persons, and vulnerable migrants in distress in Niger.
With IOM's three transit centres in Niamey already at maximum capacity, arrivals of expulsed migrants from North Africa continue despite land borders remaining closed.
The Yawaré site offers an essential solution for the temporary shelter of stranded and returning migrants, while ensuring compliance with public health measures required to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Each year, the centre will be able to accommodate approximately 4,300 people who will benefit from temporary shelter, including 2,500 flood-affected people and 1,800 migrants.
Located 13 km away, the centre serves the capital city of Niamey, which has seen a temporary emergency evacuation site for flood victims, located on its outskirts, damaged by harsh weather conditions in 2021.
The infrastructure is built on 1.5 Ha and has 10 dormitories, seven of which are for women and children, as well as three dormitories for men, with all the amenities to offer an adequate temporary stay to the beneficiaries.
“Niger, like other countries in the world, is suffering the adverse effects of climate change with its corollary of floods and other disasters”, said Mr. Hamadou Amadou Souley, the Nigerien Minister of Interior and Decentralisation. “This centre, which we are taking delivery of today, is an invaluable tool in the management of disasters in order to relieve, with respect for human dignity and international standards, the populations victims of all types of disasters and in difficult situations.”
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