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Seven moments from the conflict in Diffa

20 December 2016

The first wave of displaced people

In May 2013, Nigeria declared a state of emergency in the states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe in the northeast of the country and launched an offensive against Boko Haram. This led to the first wave of people seeking refuge in the region of Diffa, Niger, which is only separated from northern Nigeria by the seasonal Komadougou river. The numbers of displaced people increased as the situation deteriorated in Nigeria. Photo: Sylvain Cherkaoui/Cosmos for MSF

MSF cholera project in Diffa
In late 2014, MSF launched an operation to respond to a cholera outbreak in Diffa. The organisation provided assistance in several health centres where a considerable number of displaced people were concentrated. Since then, the organisation has continued to adapt its operations to meet the growing needs of the displaced. Photo: Sylvain Cherkaoui/Cosmos for MSF

The first attack in Niger
In February 2015, Boko Haram simultaneously attacked the towns of Diffa and Bosso, in the Diffa region. The attacks meant that a large number of aid organisations could not reach certain areas of the region considered to be dangerous, and they caused waves of internal displacement, which included those in the refugee or returnee communities. Photo: Sylvain Cherkaoui/Cosmos for MSF

The evacuation of Lake Chad
In April 2015, after an attack by Boko Haram which caused more than 100 casualties among Nigerian security forces, military officials ordered the evacuation of the islands of Lake Chad, forcing around 30,000 people to leave in just a few hours. Photo: MSF

The intensification of attacks
At the end of 2015, the attacks by Boko Haram against local communities worsened, causing more internal displacement with considerable humanitarian consequences. Photo: MSF

 

Moments of calm and peaks of violence

In early 2016, there was a certain amount of calm, despite a few persistent peaks of violence. Some communities became more stable, allowing for increased humanitarian assistance, but there were many displaced people in areas difficult to access. Photo: MSF

Attacks in Bosso
In June 2016, Boko Haram attacked several locations in the district of Bosso and, according to the authorities, 40,000 people were forced to flee. For many of them, this was not the first time they had had to move. Most are now based in two camps, Kintchandi and the Garin Wanzam, near the region’s main highway. Photo: Anne Boher
 

The humanitarian community has failed to achieve a reasonably effective level in its response to the current emergency in the region of Diffa, Niger, where hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced by the conflict between Boko Haram and the armies in the area. This is the main conclusion of a report by MSF released today.

This failure is mainly due to three reasons: ineffective coordination and prioritisation of needs among humanitarian actors, an inability to move quickly from a development approach to an emergency approach, and limits on access to certain populations. Although aid has saved thousands of lives, it must be improved to better meet the needs.

The current humanitarian system will continue to be tested in Niger, as the context remains volatile. More adaptability needs to be built into the system, for effective future planning to prepare for predictable continuing movements and protracted and precarious displacement, and for specialised resources and methods to be deployed.