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Chad: hundreds still arriving from Darfur each week

Briefing notes

Chad: hundreds still arriving from Darfur each week

1 June 2004

Hundreds of Sudanese refugees from the Darfur region of Sudan are still arriving in eastern Chad every week, and UNHCR's efforts to transfer the refugees to camps away from the border continue with more than 80,900 in the camps so far.

Around the town of Bahai in the northern section of the border zone, some 200 to 300 people continue to cross the border from Sudan every week. Today, we are starting another food distribution together with our partners in Bahai, where more than 14,000 refugees have been registered. The refugees will receive sorghum, oil and beans provided by the World Food Programme.

Another 250 new refugees have been reported in the area of Senette, further south along the border near the town of Birak. We are sending a team today to pre-register the refugees in preparation to move them to Mille camp tomorrow. The refugees told our partner MSF-Belgique that their villages in the canton of Siliate were attacked by militia in the afternoon of May 22. The refugees said that as the militia began looting the houses, the women fled with their children. They walked all night before reaching the border. They have been living in makeshift shelters that they built up around trees and are now running out of food. Once settled in Mille camp tomorrow, they will receive regular food and humanitarian assistance. This group's arrival in Chad was first reported just a few days ago, as it is extremely hard for our teams and our partners to monitor the entirety of the 600 km stretch of border along which the refugees are scattered.

Meanwhile, our team in Guéréda is meeting today with local authorities to discuss the extension of the existing camp in Kounoungo. The new camp will be able to host at least 4,000 additional refugees beyond the 8,269 refugees already in Kounoungo. Kounoungo has sufficient water supplies to meet the needs of over 12,000 refugees. One well in the camp supplies enough water for the current population, but two other wells have been dug and are ready to be put into use when needed. In all, seven camps are now operational in eastern Chad and shelter a total of 80,914 refugees.

Three flights have arrived so far and another will arrive today in our latest emergency airlift to bring relief supplies into Chad before the start of the rainy season. Two flights landed in the capital N'Djamena yesterday - one flight brought trucks and supplies from Germany and the first in a series of flights with tents arrived from Pakistan. The next flight from Pakistan arrives today. A flight with assistance from Denmark arrived last week. We plan to begin flights with stocks from Ngara, Tanzania, next week.