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2015 UNHCR country operations profile - Chad

| Overview |

Working environment

UNHCR 2015 Chad country operations map

  • With ongoing conflict and violence in several neighbouring countries, notably the Central African Republic (CAR), Nigeria and South Sudan, Chad's refugee population is likely to increase in 2015.

  • The needs of CAR refugees for protection and assistance will remain significant in 2015.

  • UNHCR enjoys excellent working relations with the Chadian Government. The organization will continue to assist the Government in issuing national identity cards to second and third-generation Chadian returnees without family links, who are at risk of statelessness.

  • On 31 July, more than 1,000 Nigerian asylum-seekers arrived on the island of Choua in the Lake Chad region, some 4 kilometres from the border crossing. Chad was already hosting more than 1,500 Nigerian refugees (488 families). A supplementary appeal was launched to cover the cost of responding to these new emergency needs. Given the unpredictability of incidents and violence in Nigeria, UNHCR is planning for further influxes in 2015.

  • The Government has granted refugees and returnees access to arable land for agricultural production, contributing to their self-reliance, as well as social and economic integration strategies. The Government is supporting efforts to seek alternatives to camps, allowing refugees to settle in host communities and access basic community services.

People of concern

In 2015, the main groups of people of concern to UNHCR will be refugees, mainly from Sudan and from the Central African Republic (CAR), as well as more than 1,600 Nigerian refugees. They live in camps, within communities, sites within villages/districts, and urban areas. Also of concern are a group of evacuees from the violence in the CAR: while they were born in the CAR of Chadian parents - some of whom were also born in the CAR - they have no remaining links with Chad and are at risk of statelessness.

UNHCR 2015 planning figures for Chad
Type of population Origin January 2015 December 2015
Total in country Of whom assisted
by UNHCR
Total in country Of whom assisted
by UNHCR
Total 526,140 500,780 505,370 479,230
Refugees Central African Rep. 97,550 86,920 100,000 96,000
Sudan 368,290 353,560 377,480 355,330
Various 3,000 3,000 5,500 5,500
Asylum-seekers Dem. Rep. of the Congo 130 130 140 140
Sudan 20 20 20 20
Various 110 110 130 130
Returnee arrivals during year (ex-refugees) Chad 1,000 1,000 2,000 2,000
Stateless Stateless 50 50 100 100
Others of concern Various 56,000 56,000 20,000 20,000

| Response |

Needs and strategies

In 2015, UNHCR will continue to provide basic services, such as nutrition, health, WASH, education, and documentation, to refugees and other people of concern; and work with all partners to place protection considerations at the core of all interventions.

Facilitating livelihood activities, finding alternatives to camps, acquiring land and promoting freedom of movement will remain key priorities in a bid to strengthen self-reliance. UNHCR will work with the Government and development partners to progressively integrate refugees into existing programmes and other relevant initiatives. Non-agricultural livelihoods are limited, with only 2 per cent of refugees expected to access micro-finance services by the end of 2015.

Education, sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV), and child protection will be priorities. As part of a multi-year strategy, the organization will establish measures to: identify and monitor children at risk; carry out best interest determination; provide support and quality services to SGBV survivors; prevent exploitation and violence, especially for refugee girls; and ensure the smooth transition from the Sudanese to the Chadian curriculum. Funding shortfalls mean support for access to secondary schools and vocational training will be limited, with only half of the targeted secondary-age population in school. To support SGBV survivors, UNHCR will implement safety and security measures, provide material assistance, build local support capacity, and run awareness-raising activities.

The conflict in the CAR and ongoing intra-community clashes in Darfur make voluntary repatriation in 2015 unlikely. With limited prospects for local integration, resettlement remains the only viable durable solution. UNHCR will prepare refugees for durable solutions by facilitating livelihood opportunities, strengthening self-reliance and promoting peaceful coexistence with local communities. It will also support efforts to bridge the gap in living standards between refugees and host communities. Alternatives to camps will be explored, and all efforts made to facilitate refugees' freedom of movement.

Existing national structures, such as water, sanitation and hygiene facilities, health centres and schools, will be strengthened, and relevant line ministries' capacity to run and maintain such services will be enhanced. Important partnerships with development actors and links to national development plans will be nurtured, to increase the sustainability of interventions.

The option for new refugees to stay in communities instead of camps will be pursued. UNHCR will provide technical expertise to support the Government in complying with international commitments.

The Office will work to remove barriers to accessing documentation for some 113,000 Chadian returnees. It will also endeavour to uphold good quality registration, and provide identification cards to all refugees, gradually introducing biometrics in the course of 2015. In addition, as a new law on civil status was adopted in 2013, it is likely that by 2017, birth certificates will be automatically issued to refugee children in eastern Chad, and the backlog of Sudanese refugees without documents will be addressed.

UNHCR will assist the authorities in issuing identification documents to Chadian returnees to prevent them becoming stateless. Some 36,000 Chadians without links will have been documented by the end of 2014, and another 20,000 in 2015.

| Implementation |

Coordination

Collaboration with the Chadian Government, the Commission Nationale d'Accueil, de Réinsertion des Réfugiés et des Rapatriés (CNARR), local authorities and respective line ministries remain crucial to achieving the objectives. UNHCR will continue to advocate the integration of programmes related to refugees and national development.

The Office will engage with all relevant inter-agency fora to ensure refugees are included in all relevant sectors and plans. It co-leads the clusters for camp coordination and management, and shelter, leads those that are protection-focused, and heads the multi-sector refugee response.

2015 UNHCR partners in Chad
Implementing partners
Government agencies: Commission Nationale d'Accueil, de Réinsertion des Réfugiés et des Rapatriés (CNARR)
NGOs: African Initiatives for Relief and Development, Association pour la Promotion des Libertés Fondamentales au Tchad, Association pour le Développement Economique et Social de Kobe, Associazione di Cooperazione Rurale in Africa e America Latina, Bureau d'Appui Santé et Environnement, CARE, Centre de Support en Santé Internationale au Tchad, Christian Outreach for Relief and Development, Croix-Rouge du Tchad, Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS), International Medical Corps, International Rescue Committee, Jesuit Refugee Service, Lutheran World Federation - Action by Churches Together, Refugee Education Trust, Secours Catholique pour le Développement
Operational partners
Government agencies: Ministère de l'Administration du Territoire et de la Sécurité Publique; Ministère de l'Agriculture et de l'Environnement; Ministère de l'Aménagement du Territoire, de l'Urbanisme et de l'Habitat; Ministère de l'Assainissement Public et de la Bonne Gouvernance; Ministère de l'Éducation Nationale; Ministère de la Culture, de la Jeunesse et des Sports; Ministère de la Fonction Publique, du Travail et de l'Emploi; Ministère de la Justice et des Droits de l'Homme; Ministère de la Sante Publique, de l'Action Sociale et de la Solidarité Nationale; Ministère des Affaires Etrangères et de l'Intégration Africaine; Ministère des Infrastructures, des Transports et de l'Aviation Civile; Ministère des Postes et des Nouvelles Technologies de l'information et de la Communication; Ministère du Plan et de la Coopération Internationale; Ministre du Pétrole, des Mines, et de l'Energie
Others: Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (German Agency for International Cooperation - GIZ), FAO, Good Neighbors, IOM, OCHA, OHCHR, UNAIDS, UNDP, UNESCO, UNFPA, UNICEF, WFP, WHO, World Bank

| Financial information |

Budgets for the Chad operation have gone down since 2011. The 2015 ExCom budget has been set at USD 162.5 million. However, with the Nigerian refugees' emergency needs leading to the creation of a supplementary budget in 2014, further requirements for this situation may be presented in 2015.

Any funding shortfalls for the Chad operation in 2015 will most likely affect: the documentation and registration of refugees; the availability of potable water which will remain below the acceptable standard of 20 litres per person, per day; and UNHCR's capacity to promote the integration of refugees into national development programmes and to pursue livelihood and self-reliance activities.

Source: UNHCR Global Appeal 2015 Update

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Statistical Snapshot*
* As at January 2014
  1. Country or territory of asylum or residence. In the absence of Government estimates, UNHCR has estimated the refugee population in most industrialized countries based on 10 years of asylum-seekers recognition.
  2. Persons recognized as refugees under the 1951 UN Convention/1967 Protocol, the 1969 OAU Convention, in accordance with the UNHCR Statute, persons granted a complementary form of protection and those granted temporary protection. It also includes persons in a refugee-like situation whose status has not yet been verified.
  3. Persons whose application for asylum or refugee status is pending at any stage in the procedure.
  4. Refugees who have returned to their place of origin during the first six months of 2013. Source: Country of origin and asylum.
  5. Persons who are displaced within their country and to whom UNHCR extends protection and/or assistance. It also includes persons who are in an IDP-like situation.
  6. IDPs protected/assisted by UNHCR who have returned to their place of origin during the first six months of 2013.
  7. Refers to persons under UNHCR's statelessness mandate.
  8. Persons of concern to UNHCR not included in the previous columns but to whom UNHCR extends protection and/or assistance.
  9. The category of people in a refugee-like situation is descriptive in nature and includes groups of people who are outside their country of origin and who face protection risks similar to those of refugees, but for whom refugee status has, for practical or other reasons, not been ascertained.
The data are generally provided by Governments, based on their own definitions and methods of data collection.
A dash (-) indicates that the value is zero, not available or not applicable.

Source: UNHCR/Governments.
Compiled by: UNHCR, FICSS.
Residing in Chad [1]
Refugees [2] 434,479
Asylum Seekers [3] 310
Returned Refugees [4] 387
Internally Displaced Persons (IDPS) [5] 19,791
Returned IDPs [6] 0
Stateless Persons [7] 0
Various [8] 0
Total Population of Concern 454,967
Originating from Chad [1]
Refugees [2] 48,644
Asylum Seekers [3] 3,857
Returned Refugees [4] 387
Internally Displaced Persons (IDPS) [5] 19,791
Returned IDPs [6] 0
Various [8] 0
Total Population of Concern 72,679

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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

Portraits of Darfur's Refugees

Nearly 200,000 refugees, the majority of them women and children, have fled across the border from Sudan into Chad since the outbreak of conflict in Sudan's Darfur region in March 2003. The refugees have left behind their homes and often loved ones in Darfur, where militias have reportedly killed and raped villagers, looted and burned houses and possessions and driven people from their homes.

Most of the refugees in eastern Chad are sheltered in 11 camps established by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, where they receive humanitarian aid, shelter, water and basic services.

Life in the camps is not easy in the desert environment of eastern Chad, where water and firewood are extremely scarce. Sandstorms are a regular feature during the dry months and torrential rains flood the landscape in the wet season.

Yet in the faces of the refugees, dignity and hope remain in spite of the hardships and the violence they have suffered.

Portraits of Darfur's Refugees

Camp Life in Eastern Chad

Faced with nearly 200,000 Sudanese refugees from Darfur fleeing into the barren desert of eastern Chad, the UN refugee agency has essentially had to build small villages – including shelter, latrines, water supply and basic services – to accommodate the refugees and help them survive in a hostile natural environment with scarce local resources. The 11 camps set up so far shelter more than 166,000 refugees from Darfur.

While much work still needs to be done, especially to find sufficient water in the arid region, life in the camps has reached a certain level of normalcy, with schools and activities starting up and humanitarian aid regularly distributed to the residents. Meanwhile, UNHCR continues to improve services and living conditions in the existing camps and is working to set up new camps to take in more refugees from the ongoing violence in Darfur.

Camp Life in Eastern Chad

Internally Displaced in Chad

In scenes of devastation similar to the carnage across the border in Darfur, some 20 villages in eastern Chad have been attacked, looted, burned and emptied by roving armed groups since 4 November. Hundreds of people have been killed, many more wounded and at least 15,000 displaced from their homes.

Some 7,000 people have gathered near Goz Beida town, seeking shelter under trees or wherever they can find it. As soon as security permits, UNHCR will distribute relief items. The UN refugee agency has already provided newly arrived IDPs at Habila camp with plastic sheeting, mats, blankets and medicine. The agency is scouting for a temporary site for the new arrivals and in the meantime will increase the number of water points in Habila camp.

The deteriorating security situation in the region and the effect it might have on UNHCR's operation to help the refugees and displaced people, is of extreme concern. There are 90,000 displaced people in Chad, as well as 218,000 refugees from Darfur in 12 camps in eastern Chad.

Posted on 30 November 2006

Internally Displaced in Chad

Chad: Education in Exile

UNHCR joins forces with the Ministry of Education and NGO partners to improve education for Sudanese refugees in Chad.

The ongoing violence in Sudan's western Darfur region has uprooted two million Sudanese inside the country and driven some 230,000 more over the border into 12 refugee camps in eastern Chad.

Although enrolment in the camp schools in Chad is high, attendance is inconsistent. A shortage of qualified teachers and lack of school supplies and furniture make it difficult to keep schools running. In addition, many children are overwhelmed by household chores, while others leave school to work for local Chadian families. Girls' attendance is less regular, especially after marriage, which usually occurs by the age of 12 or 13. For boys and young men, attending school decreases the possibility of recruitment by various armed groups operating in the area.

UNHCR and its partners continue to provide training and salaries for teachers in all 12 refugee camps, ensuring a quality education for refugee children. NGO partners maintain schools and supply uniforms to needy students. And UNICEF is providing books, note pads and stationary. In August 2007 UNHCR, UNICEF and Chad's Ministry of Education joined forces to access and improve the state of education for Sudanese uprooted by conflict in Darfur.

UNHCR's ninemillion campaign aims to provide a healthy and safe learning environment for nine million refugee children by 2010.

Chad: Education in Exile

Chad Mission Photo Gallery

Chad Mission Photo Gallery

Chad's other refugee crisis

While attention focuses on the Darfuris in eastern Chad, another refugee crisis unfolds in southern Chad.

A second refugee crisis has been quietly unfolding in the south of Chad for the past few years, getting little attention from the media and the international community. Some 60,000 refugees from the Central African Republic (CAR) are hosted there in five camps and receive regular assistance from UNHCR. But funding for aid and reintegration projects remains low. Refugees have been fleeing fighting between rebel groups and governmental forces in northern CAR. 17,000 new refugees have arrived from northern CAR to south-eastern Chad since the beginning of 2009.

Chad's other refugee crisis

Darfuri Refugees in Chad: No end in Sight

More than six years after the beginning of the conflict in Sudan's Darfur region, more than a quarter-of-a-million refugees remain displaced in neighbouring Chad. Most of the refugees are women and children and many are still traumatized after fleeing across the border after losing almost everything in land and air raids on their villages.

Families saw their villages being burned, their relatives being killed and their livestock being stolen. Women and girls have been victims of rape, abuse and humiliation, and many have been ostracized by their own communities as a result.

The bulk of the refugees live in 12 camps run by UNHCR in the arid reaches of eastern Chad, where natural resources such as water and firewood are scarce. They have been able to resume their lives in relative peace, but all hope one day to return to Darfur, where hundreds of thousands of their compatriots are internally displaced.

In eastern Chad, UNHCR and other agencies are helping to take care of 180,000 internally displaced Chadians, who fled inter-ethnic clashes in 2006-2007. Some families are starting to return to their villages of origin only now.

Darfuri Refugees in Chad: No end in Sight

New refugees from Central African Republic struggle with ration cuts in southern Chad

Since January 2014, a funding shortfall has forced the World Food Programme (WFP) to cut food rations by 60 per cent in refugee camps in southern Chad. The reduction comes as thousands of refugees from Central African Republic (CAR) continue to arrive in the south - more than 14,000 of them since the beginning of 2014. Many arrive sick, malnourished and exhausted after walking for months in the bush with little food or water. They join some 90,000 other CAR refugees already in the south - some of them for years.

The earlier refugees have been able to gain some degree of self-reliance through agriculture or employment, thus making up for some of the food cuts. But the new arrivals, fleeing the latest round of violence in their homeland, are facing a much harsher reality. And many of them - particularly children - will struggle to survive because WFP has also been forced cut the supplemental feeding programmes used to treat people trying to recover from malnutrition.

WFP needs to raise US$ 186 million to maintain feeding programmes for refugees in Africa through the end of the year. Additionally, UNHCR is urgently seeking contributions towards the US$ 78 million it has budgeted this year for food security and nutrition programmes serving refugees in Africa.

Photojournalist Corentin Fohlen and UNHCR Public Information Officer Céline Schmitt visited CAR refugees in southern Chad to document their plight and how they're trying to cope.

New refugees from Central African Republic struggle with ration cuts in southern Chad

Food cuts in Chad camps expose refugee women and children to exploitation, abuse

A funding shortfall has forced the World Food Programme (WFP) to cut food rations in refugee camps in eastern Chad by up to 60 per cent. As a result, Sudanese refugees in 13 camps in the east now receive about 850 calories per day, down from the minimum ration of 2,100 calories daily they used to get. The refugees are finding it difficult to cope. Clinics in the area report a significant spike in malnutrition cases, with rates as high as 19.5 per cent in Am Nabak camp.

WFP needs to raise US$ 186 million to maintain feeding programmes for refugees in Africa through the end of the year. Additionally, UNHCR is urgently seeking contributions towards the US$ 78 million it has budgeted this year for food security and nutrition programmes serving refugees in Africa.

In the meantime, the refugees experiencing ration cuts have few options. Poor soil quality, dry conditions and little access to water mean they can't plant supplemental crops as refugees in the less arid south of Chad are able to do. To try to cope, many refugee women in eastern Chad are leaving the camps in search of work in surrounding towns. They clean houses, do laundry, fetch water and firewood and work as construction labourers. Even so, they earn very little and often depend on each other for support. In the town of Iriba, for example, some 50 refugee women sleep rough each night under a tree and share their some of their meagre earnings to pay for a daily, communal meal.

They are also subject to exploitation. Sometimes, their temporary employers refuse to pay them at the end of the day. And some women and girls have resorted to prostitution to earn money to feed their families.

Ration cuts can have an impact far beyond health, reverberating through the entire community. It is not uncommon for children to be pulled out of school on market days in order to work. Many refugees use a portion of their food rations to barter for other essentials, or to get cash to pay school fees or buy supplies for their children. Small business owners like butchers, hairdressers and tailors - some of them refugees - also feel the pinch.

WFP supplies food to some 240,500 Sudanese refugees in the camps of eastern Chad. Many have been in exile for years and, because of their limited opportunities for self-sufficiency, remain almost totally dependent on outside help. The ration cuts have made an already difficult situation much worse for refugees who were already struggling.

Food cuts in Chad camps expose refugee women and children to exploitation, abuse

Canada: Light Years Ahead
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Canada: Light Years Ahead

With help from the Government of Canada, lives of refugees in Chad and Ethiopia have been transformed through the Light Years Ahead project.

Chad: Health for allPlay video

Chad: Health for all

Refugees in southern Chad receive health care under a European Union-funded programme. A new clinic tackles malaria, malnutrition, respiratory infections and more.
Chad: Changing LivesPlay video

Chad: Changing Lives

Refugees in southern Chad's Amboko Camp grow vegetables under an income-generation programme funded by the European Union.
Chad: Class ActPlay video

Chad: Class Act

Funding from the European Union helps refugee children in southern Chad's Camp Amboko go to school.
Life in ChadPlay video

Life in Chad

Photographer Frederic Noy looks at the lives of Sudanese refugees living in protracted exile in Chad.
Chad: Influx from Central African RepublicPlay video

Chad: Influx from Central African Republic

The conflict in Central African Republic (CAR) receives far less media attention than that in Darfur, but the effects are much the same. More than 17,000 people have crossed into Chad since January, bringing the total number of CAR refugees to almost 70,000.
Chad: Environmental ChallengesPlay video

Chad: Environmental Challenges

The search for water and firewood is a daily trial for the 250,000 Sudanese refugees from Darfur in eastern Chad. The UN has found ways to alleviate the problems.
Violence In Eastern ChadPlay video

Violence In Eastern Chad

In eastern Chad, continued violence threatens the UN refugee agency's fragile humanitarian lifeline to hundreds of thousands of Sudanese refugees and tens of thousands of displaced Chadians.
Goodwill Ambassador Angelina Jolie Returns to Eastern ChadPlay video

Goodwill Ambassador Angelina Jolie Returns to Eastern Chad

Angelina Jolie braved a violent sandstorm to visit refugees in eastern Chad. There, she was able to see how the security situation has deteriorated in the region since she last visited about three years ago.