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Niger: Red Cross opens centre for migrants

01-04-2011 News Release 11/80

Niamey (ICRC) - The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), in cooperation with the Red Cross Society of Niger, is opening a temporary shelter and transit centre this Friday in Agadez, northern Niger. The centre will take in the most destitute migrants from Libya and Algeria.

"The centre will accommodate between 150 and 200 people and be managed by the Niger Red Cross," said Jürg Eglin, head of the ICRC delegation in Niamey. "It's for nationals of the Niger and foreigners arriving in Agadez who have nowhere to spend the night." Migrants who had lost touch with their families would, he said, be able to contact them by telephone or by sending a message. "At a time like this, the transit centre will be especially useful to vulnerable migrants fleeing the conflict in Libya."

The city of Agadez is located on what has long been a transit route for migrants headed north, as well as a corridor for people returning from Libya or Algeria. They often face a lack of shelter, along with other hardships.

"The purpose of the transit centre is to provide temporary shelter for vulnerable people who are returning to their place of origin," Mr Eglin emphasized. "It's certainly not to encourage migrants to stay in town while waiting for a new opportunity to cross the border."

In the desert region of northern Niger, the ICRC is also planning to help the Niger Red Cross to rebuild and upgrade seven traditional wells on the trail between Bilma and Toummo. The wells will supply water both for migrants and for other people using this corridor between Niger and Libya.

Independent, neutral and impartial, the ICRC is one of the few international humanitarian organizations in northern Niger, where it works in close cooperation with the Niger Red Cross.

For further information, please contact:
Germain Mwehu, ICRC Niamey, tel. +227 97 45 43 82
Adamou Amadou Tidjani, Red Cross Society of Niger, tel. +227 96 59 63 51