Thousands of Migrants Stranded in North Niger’s Scorching Desert

Thu Apr 06 2023
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ASSAMAKA: Hundreds of migrants are stuck in the hot desert of northern Niger Assamaka. The first settlement on the Niger border, becomes the final destination for hundreds more migrants who are expelled from Algeria each week.


More than 4,500 of them have washed up in this tiny Windswept corner of the Sahara, mainly Malians, Guineans and Ivorians, Bangladeshis, and Syrians.


They have marched through 15 kilometers of wasteland to arrive at a new dead end. Approximately a third of arrivals are accommodated at a transit center run by the UN’s International Organization for Migration (IOM), which cannot handle the volume.


Abdoul Karim Bambara from the Ivory Coast stated, “When we came here, we weren’t recognized as migrants by the IOM, so we had to pay for our transport to return home.


The water tanks in Assamaka are almost dry, the food supplies are inadequate, and there is a lack of shade from the scorching sun. Thousands of people take cover behind walls or under tarpaulins in temperatures that sometimes approach 48 degrees Celsius (118 degrees Fahrenheit).


In Algeria, the first stop on their journey to a hoped-for new life in Europe, the refugees claim they were robbed of their valuables. They lack money to call family members or pay for a trip back home. They spend weeks or months stranded in an open prison in the desert.


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