UN seeks increased access to restive Niger border area

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UNITED NATIONS, May 26 (Xinhua) -- The United Nations and partners are trying to increase access to a tense Niger border area where 51 civilians have been slain in clashes this month, a UN spokesman said on Thursday.

"We are told that the situation remains tense in the Tillaberi region along the border with Burkina Faso following a number of clashes," said Stephane Dujarric, chief spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. "We, along with our partners, are working to increase our access to these areas, with food security likely to worsen."

Humanitarians working in the Tillaberi region report that more than 34,000 people have been forced to flee their homes in the border areas with Burkina Faso and Mali due to fighting since the beginning of 2022.

Access issues have delayed humanitarian services and deliveries of food and non-food items, health support and cash assistance to the affected localities, said the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

The United Nations and humanitarian partners fear that lack of access will increase displaced people's vulnerability, and the food security situation is likely to worsen, it said.

The world body is supporting the coordination of the humanitarian response and working to increase humanitarian access since the newly displaced will increase overall humanitarian needs in the country, it said.

OCHA said the 2022 humanitarian response plan for Niger seeks 552.6 million U.S. dollars to support 2.3 million people, including more than 1 million displaced people. The plan is only 11.3 percent funded. Enditem

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