UN puts humanitarian operations on hold in Niger after coup attempt

The UN aid agency on Thursday put humanitarian operations on hold in Niger after an attempted coup by members of the military.

“Following the developments in Niger, our humanitarian operations there are on hold, with the country already facing a complex humanitarian situation linked to escalating violence, socio-economic challenges and climate change,” OCHA said in a statement.

The Nigerien presidency confirmed that a coup attempt was carried out by soldiers who sealed access to the official residence of President Mohamed Bazoum.

The country’s army chief, meanwhile, declared allegiance to the forces involved in the coup attempt, saying the decision was necessary to “avoid a deadly confrontation between the various forces.”

The number of people in need of humanitarian assistance has increased from 1.9 million people in 2017 to 4.3 million people in 2023 in Niger, according to OCHA.

More than 370,000 people are displaced within the country, which also hosts more than 250,000 refugees – mainly from Nigeria, Mali and Burkina Faso.

As many as 2.5 million people are acutely food insecure and the figure is expected to top 3 million people during the lean season that runs from June to August, the UN agency said.

The UN’s $584 million humanitarian response plan for the West African country is currently 32% funded.

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