UNHCR relocates Central African Republic refugees amid recurring floods

Briefing Notes, 12 October 2012

This is a summary of what was said by UNHCR spokesperson Melissa Fleming to whom quoted text may be attributed at the press briefing, on 12 October 2012, at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.

In southern Chad UNHCR and its partners have started this week, the transfer of refugees from flooded camps to a new site situated on higher ground.

The refugees are from the Central African Republic and are being relocated from the camps of Yaroungou and Moula which together host 17,000 people. The refugees were forced into exile in 2003 and 2008 due to political instability and armed conflict in CAR.

Since Monday, when the operation started, we have moved 1,687 refugees in seven convoys to the new site at Paris-Sara. We organize convoys twice daily and expect to complete the relocation by the end of the month assuming new rainfalls do not hamper movement.

Our hope is that the relocation will be a welcome break for the refugees of Yaroungou and Moula where heavy seasonal rains have been causing extensive damage over the past three years. In the Moula camp, some 260 hectares of farmland are currently flooded. At Yaroungou, the floods have destroyed 85 percent of the maize and rice crops. Stockpiles of food and seeds have also been wiped out as most of Chad is affected by flooding.

Heavy rains this year have caused serious damage in refugee and IDP sites across southern and eastern Chad. According to our estimates, it will cost $US 3.5 million to rehabilitate damaged camp infrastructure such as shelters, schools, water points, health centers, playgrounds, latrines and drainage systems.

Chad currently hosts more than 300,000 refugees settled in 18 camps. Twelve of the camps are in the East and host some 260,000 Sudanese refugees originating from Darfur. The other six camps in the South house some 60,000 Central Africans. In addition to the refugees, there are 83,000 internally displaced Chadians staying in camps in the East and also receiving UNHCR assistance.

Despite the immense humanitarian needs in Chad, it is one of our least funded operations with only 25 percent of our budget of $US177 million received so far.

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