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Chad: final stages in repatriation

Briefing Notes, 27 July 2001

This is a summary of what was said by UNHCR spokesperson Ron Redmond to whom quoted text may be attributed at the press briefing, on 27 July 2001, at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.

UNHCR is now engaged in the final stages of the repatriation of Chadian refugees from the West African region. A week ago, 288 refugees set out from Douala, Cameroon, to begin a one-week return journey that will include travel by train and truck convoy to southern Chad. Upon arrival at a Chadian transit centre, they received a five-month food ration from WFP, and blankets, kitchen tools and soap from UNHCR.

Most Chadian refugees in West Africa fled civil war in their country in the early eighties. Until 1994 they were granted prima facie refugee status, but after 1994 they had to undergo individual refugees status determination.

UNHCR last year was able to close two camps in northern Cameroon after all 4,500 refugees in the two camps were repatriated to Chad. This week's repatriation will be followed by a final one next week for some 500 urban refugees from Cameroon's capital, Yaoundé, bringing the total repatriated from Cameroon to 7,000. UNHCR estimates there are still some 40,000 Chadians in Cameroon, most of whom are believed to have integrated locally.

The repatriation to Chad reached a peak last year with a total of 18,000 refugees repatriated from the Central African Republic, and small numbers from Benin and Gabon. Chad is itself host to some 17,000 refugees, a majority rural refugees from Sudan settled in the east of the country.

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Repatriation

UNHCR works with the country of origin and host countries to help refugees return home.

Crisis in the Central African Republic

Little has been reported about the humanitarian crisis in the northern part of the Central African Republic (CAR), where at least 295,000 people have been forced out of their homes since mid-2005. An estimated 197,000 are internally displaced, while 98,000 have fled to Chad, Cameroon or Sudan. They are the victims of fighting between rebel groups and government forces.

Many of the internally displaced live in the bush close to their villages. They build shelters from hay, grow vegetables and even start bush schools for their children. But access to clean water and health care remains a huge problem. Many children suffer from diarrhoea and malaria but their parents are too scared to take them to hospitals or clinics for treatment.

Cattle herders in northern CAR are menaced by the zaraguina, bandits who kidnap children for ransom. The villagers must sell off their livestock to pay.

Posted on 21 February 2008

Crisis in the Central African Republic

Battling the Elements in Chad

More than 180,000 Sudanese refugees have fled violence in Sudan's Darfur region, crossing the border to the remote desert of eastern Chad.

It is one of the most inhospitable environments UNHCR has ever had to work in. Vast distances, extremely poor road conditions, scorching daytime temperatures, sandstorms, the scarcity of vegetation and firewood, and severe shortages of drinkable water have been major challenges since the beginning of the operation. Now, heavy seasonal rains are falling, cutting off the few usable roads, flooding areas where refugees had set up makeshift shelters, and delaying the delivery of relief supplies.

Despite the enormous environmental challenges, UNHCR has so far managed to establish nine camps and relocate the vast majority of the refugees who are willing to move from the volatile border.

Battling the Elements in Chad

Chad: Relocation from the Border to Refugee Camps

Since fighting broke out in Sudan's western region of Darfur last year, more than 110,000 Sudanese refugees have fled into Chad. They are scattered along a 600-km stretch of desert borderland under a scorching sun during the day and freezing temperatures during the night.

Access to these refugees in this inhospitable region is difficult. Staff of the UN refugee agency drive for days to locate them. Bombing in the border zone and cross-border raids by militia from Sudan put the refugees at risk and underscore the urgent need to move them to camps in the interior. In addition, the approach of the rainy season in May will make the sandy roads impassable. Aid workers are racing against time in an attempt bring emergency relief to these refugees.

Chad: Relocation from the Border to Refugee Camps

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