During their migratory journey, there are many male and female migrants, and sometimes even minors, who are victims of trafficking, abandoned in the middle of the desert. Unfortunately, some of them end up dying after several days without food or water, or because of dehydration, vehicle accidents and aggressions.

This is a situation that concerns more than one humanitarian organization working in the Agadez region, despite the difficulties of crossing this vast desert that stretches from the Algerian border to the Libyan border.

Beyond rescuing people in distress stuck in the desert, these structures try to give them back a smile through other forms of assistance.

In this article, you will find all the non-governmental and state organizations that operate in the Agadez region in search of migrants in distress in the desert. 


Search operation for migrants missing in the desert, how does it work?

Among the organizations that provide assistance to people in distress in the desert through search and rescue operations for migrants, we can cite the International Organization for Migration (IOM), Médecin Sans Frontières (MSF) and Alarme Phone Sahara.


Which organizations are involved in the search and rescue of migrants in the desert?

  •  The International Organization for Migration (IOM)

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) regularly organizes search and rescue operations for migrants abandoned in the desert.  The IOM conducts these operations in collaboration with the General Directorate of Civil Protection of the Ministry of Interior. Objectives: to find migrants in distress and bring them to the nearest town (Agadez, Arlit or Dirkou) in the Agadez region. Once rescued, migrants receive water, food and basic assistance in non-food items (bucket, mosquito net, mats, sheets, clothes, shoes, soap, etc.).

IOM also provides information on the voluntary return program to countries of origin for interested migrants.

The initiative includes a range of services such as direct assistance, voluntary return assistance and reintegration

People who do not wish to enroll in the IOM voluntary return program and therefore do not wish to return to their home countries, can leave the center after recovery.

For more information, you can consult the IOM website: https://www.iom.int/

  • Direction Générale de la Protection Civile (DGPC)

This is a state institution whose missions include :

- Ensure the protection of people, property and the environment against the risks of disaster and catastrophes;

- To organize and coordinate emergency relief;

- Participate in humanitarian assistance.

With regard to this last point, the DGPC works in partnership with other structures, most often humanitarian ones, to help populations in distress. This is particularly the case in the Agadez region, where it often initiates joint patrols with IOM to help people in difficulty in the Agadez desert.

  • Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)

MSF has set up a search and rescue system in Dirkou for migrants lost or abandoned in the desert.

Present in the Agadez region since August 2018, the NGO Médecin Sans Frontières provides assistance to exhausted people in great difficulty in the desert. This assistance consists of water, energy cookies, including examinations on the health status of people to refer urgent cases to health centers. MSF teams can also provide health care and psychological support, using mobile clinics in some transit locations such as Dirkou.

MSF has also set up a toll-free hotline in Dirkou for migrants, which can be reached at this number: 80 11 44 44 

For more information, you can visit the MSF website: https://www.msf.fr/

  • In addition to these structures, there is Alarme Phone Sahara (APS), a local NGO that also intervenes in the search for migrants in distress in the desert.

To help rescue people in distress in the desert, Alarme Phone Sahara maintains phone numbers and a whistleblower structure in the Agadez region. In case of distress, according to the means available, Alarme Phone Sahara puts on alert drivers who are able to reach the place or, if necessary, official rescue structures.

In Agadez: APS (Alarme Phone Sahara) can be reached on the following numbers:

Tel: +227 89 98 33 39 or +227 83 44 65 34 (reachable from outside Niger)

In Bilma:  APS (Alarm Phone Sahara)

Tel.: 00227-92 76 07 10

In Assamakka:  APS (Sahara Phone Alarm) on 00227-90 84 74 87

On the https://alarmephonesahara.info/fr/propos/qui-est-alarme-phone-sahara-aps link

you will find more information on the activities of the NGO APS.

For any questions:

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