A race for survival across Niger’s burning desert

27 January 2016
A race for survival across Niger’s burning desert
Migrants packed into a lorry, searching for a better life. CC BY-NC-ND / ICRC / F. Therrien

The following account is by Ahmed (not his real name), one of the thousands of migrants who travel through the Sahara including through Niger each year, where the blazing heat and dust challenges their very survival. They may find themselves trapped in the desert, destitute and unable to contact their families. Many lose their lives on the journey.

There were several dozen people and we were on two trucks, going towards the Algerian border.

I don't remember exactly what date we set off on. Most of the people were women with their children. They had to pay more than if it had just been them by themselves.

We thought we could make it in a day. But the trucks were in really bad condition, so we were travelling for a week, while the drivers had to keep on repairing flat tires.

Our food and water ran out after three days. So we decided to turn back and try and find the nearest water points.

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