A Nigerian woman who wanted to travel to Europe via Libya for greener pastures was lucky to be rescued alive in the Sahara Desert after 10 days.
A 22-year-old Nigerian lady who thought she was leaving the country for greener pastures in Europe but ended up spending 10 days in the Sahara Desert has told of her heart-wrenching experience.
The lady who has been identified only as Adaora, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), that she and others who were stranded in the desert had to resort to drinking their urine to survive when they had no more option.
Adaora was one of 50 migrants abandoned in the desert by human traffickers after they had left Agadez in the Niger Republic for Libya but were abandoned by the traffickers who left with all their belongings including food and money.
Adaora who was one of the lucky few to survive after the death of many of the migrants narrated how they faced death but by divine intervention, managed to survive.
Narrating her experience, Adaora said:
“We were in the desert for 10 days. After five days, the driver abandoned us. He left with all of our belongings, saying he was going to pick us up in a couple of hours, but he never did.
Two days after we were abandoned, 44 of the migrants died, leaving six of us and we decided to start walking to look for help.
Those that died were too weak to keep going. We buried a few, but there were just too many to bury and we didn’t have the strength to do it,” Adaora said.
She added that she collapsed while walking and two of the other migrants carried her until they met a truck driver.
“We had to drink our own urine to survive. I couldn’t walk anymore. I wanted to give up.”
The six of them, she continued, were rescued by a truck driver who took them to local authorities who then alerted International Organisation for Migration (IOM), an arm of the United Nations, in Dirkou, Agadez.
IOM, in a statement, said it rescued no fewer than 600 people since April 2017, through a new search and rescue operation that targeted migrants stranded in the Sahara Desert.
The agency, however, regretted that 52 migrants died over the period, according to the statement released on Tuesday.
“We are enhancing our capacity to assist vulnerable migrants stranded in Northern Agadez, towards the Niger-Libya border. Saving lives in the desert is becoming more urgent than ever.
Since the beginning of the year, we have been receiving frequent calls to rescue victims who embark on this route,” Giuseppe Loprete, the Chief of Mission for IOM in Niger said.
On June 9, 2017, another 92 migrants were also rescued through an IOM search and rescue operation, among them were 30 women and children. More recently, 24 migrants were taken to Seguedine, where one died on arrival.
“Among the 23 survivors are migrants from Gambia, Nigeria, Senegal and Cote d’Ivoire. It was not clear for how long they had been walking in the deserts of central Niger.
They had been in a group of 75 migrants in three different cars, eventually abandoned by smugglers during the journey north,” Loprete said.