Niger Struggling With Refugee Influx From Islamist Violence

Niger is struggling to absorb a flood of internally displaced people and refugees fleeing violence by Islamist militants in neighboring Nigeria, the United Nations said.

There’s a critical shortage of housing, schools and water supplies, the UN refugee agency said in a statement on Tuesday. The UNHCR’s operation in the country is facing a $25 million funding shortfall, or about half of its needs, it said.

About 100,000 people have fled to southeast Niger and many of those recently displaced are sheltering beside a highway where there’s no army protection, rather than in the relative safety of camps, said the refugee agency.

Niger is part of a regional military coalition with Chad, Cameroon and Nigeria fighting Boko Haram, which has stepped up attacks across the borders from its base in Nigeria.

About 50,000 people have been displaced within Niger by the violence and another 220,300 people have been driven to Niger, Cameroon and Chad since 2013, the UN said.

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