Security for foreigners
Since the security situation in Niger can change at very short notice, it is strongly advisable to contact the German embassy in Niamey or to contact the Federal Foreign Office. The report by the US government also provides good indications of the general security situation.
After the hostage-taking by Al-Qaida, the local offices of the international organizations in all regions of the country (Agadez, Tahoua, Zinder, Diffa) are only manned by Nigerien employees, and foreign specialists can only make short visits by plane. Some locations, for example Tera and Zinder, are reached through short missions of a few days by foreign specialists, mostly accompanied by a military escort. Longer stays outside of the capital require – in the case of foreign specialists – approval.
People’s sense of security is always subjective – compared to other metropolises, Niamey is more likely to be assessed as safe. Despite the great poverty of the Nigerien population, petty crime is low. Nevertheless, it is advisable to only go to some quarters of the capital with locals and to avoid the dark if possible.
According to softwareleverage, the eastern parts of the country (Diffa region, but also Maradi and Zinder) of the Niger should not be visited because of the risk of attacks in Boko Haram, warns the Foreign Office repeatedly. There is also a risk of attacks in other parts of the country, but the capital Niamey is considered relatively safe due to the increased police and military presence. The French embassy in Niger has been advising against staying in the so-called red zone since the beginning of 2017, according to the security card issued; This now also includes trips to National Park W – there is a risk of attacks.
In principle, you should always be warned against traveling independently, alone and without leaving a message, in the country. It is advisable to be accompanied by locals who know the area well and can correctly assess possible dangers. This does not only apply to the current security situation. It is not advisable to travel overland after dark; employees of development organizations are per se forbidden. The risk of accidents caused by unlit vehicles and people and animals suddenly appearing on the street should not be underestimated. This also applies to possible consequences of an accident. A collision with a wild animal can usually be compensated financially, although the price, without the help of a local travel companion, which can help with the settlement of claims, will usually be above the market value of the animal. For example, a cow can have a market value of 150,000 to 300,000 FCFA – that is equivalent to € 230-460.
The security in your own four walls / on your own premises is not only more or less guaranteed by the surrounding wall, but above all by the day / night watchman – rather by the system of the watchmen in a neighborhood. This is why the choice of security personnel is very important. If there are no old obligations, it can be an advantage to employ guards from different ethnic groups. In any case, it does not work without it – less because of security and more because of the social obligation to have to give people work. Foreigners are now also obliged to employ at least one person. Guards sometimes also do house or garden work – this has to be clarified on a case-by-case basis.
A yellow fever vaccination is required to enter Niger. In order to find out about the country-specific diseases and vaccination information, it is advisable to contact one of the German tropical institutes. Further information can be found under the medical information of the Federal Foreign Office. The vaccinations and prophylaxis that are considered necessary depend in particular on your own needs and demands. Vaccinations for meningitis and hepatitis are recommended; How to deal with the malaria prophylaxis, everyone has to decide for themselves in each individual case. It is important to take effective or up-to-date therapeutics with you from Europe.
The symptoms of dengue are not easy to distinguish from those of malaria; the transmission takes place through a diurnal mosquito (Stegomyia). A rabies vaccination is particularly recommended when working in the animal husbandry sector. The tropical medicine doctor will probably also advise you to have a typhoid vaccination in connection with diphtheria. Polio can be assumed as a childhood vaccination for many Central Europeans, as can tetanus – but an update would be necessary. Find out if you had measles in childhood. Always obtain thorough information from an experienced tropical medicine specialist. Often too little attention is paid to zoo anthroponoses, ie diseases that can be transmitted from animals to humans and humans to animals, such as tuberculosis, brucellosis and others. The most important prophylaxis should never be forgotten: adequate and dense clothing in the morning and evening or insect repellent on uncovered parts of the body. It is important to carefully observe possible symptoms of the disease – even after returning to Europe – and, if necessary, to see a doctor in good time.
Water can act as a transmission medium for various diseases, such as schistosomiasis. That is why it is strongly advised not to bathe in inland waters, and the Niger River and the Timia waterfalls are not safe places to swim. A chlorinated swimming pool is usually not a problem. Water for brushing teeth, making ice cubes and preparing baby food should come from safe, ie certified sources. If in doubt, it is better to boil the water; Mineral water bottles should be intact and the cap new; the water quality of water filled in small plastic bags varies greatly. Diarrheal diseases such as cholera are most likely to be avoided through hygiene and precautionary measures; Potassium permanganate, eau de javel and other products can be used to wash the vegetables.