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Chad: UNHCR and implementing partners resume work

Briefing notes

Chad: UNHCR and implementing partners resume work

27 July 2004

The situation in Farchana and Breidjing camps for Sudanese refugees in eastern Chad has returned to normal with UNHCR and our implementing partners resuming work in the camps on Sunday. Aid agencies had earlier been ordered to withdraw temporarily from the two camps following outbursts of violence. On Thursday last week, two refugees died during operations by the Chadian government authorities to quell the unrest. On Saturday, UNHCR and other UN agencies and NGOs met with the local authorities and refugee leaders at both sites and determined that humanitarian work could safely resume. Water supply in Farchana was restored on Thursday following a two-day cutoff amidst the incidents.

In Breidjing camp, there are now 30,000 refugees registered plus an estimated 5,000 who have arrived on their own at the site and have not yet been integrated into a camp. The Chadian government refugee agency, CNAR, has started registering these spontaneous arrivals and once this is completed in a few days, we plan to distribute food to this group. This will be followed by a general food distribution for the rest of the camp over the weekend. The Breidjing site cannot support such a large number of refugees so we are planning to move those who arrived on their own to other camps. We will also move some of the registered refugees to another camp to help ease the pressure on Breidjing.

In all, more than 140,000 refugees have been moved from the border to the nine camps in eastern Chad. Not included in this number is the group of 5,000 spontaneous arrivals at Breidjing currently undergoing registration, and a further 14,800 refugees registered by CNAR at the site of Am Nabak, where they have been receiving some assistance. We have been offering to move the refugees from Am Nabak where there is insufficient water to establish a camp. The refugees have been reluctant to move to Mile camp, but have now indicated they would be willing to move to another site. We are trying to identify a location to accommodate them.

UNHCR has now completed the transfer of refugees from the border town of Bahai to Oure Cassoni camp and we have begun transferring refugees from nearby Cariari. We expect the transfer to be completed by the end of the week. The total number of refugees in these two border towns now seems to be lower than expected based on the figures provided by CNAR.

Meanwhile, our emergency airlift to Chad continues, with flights from Spain, Sweden and Denmark expected to arrive this week with vehicles, water buckets, tents, generators, fuel bladders and other relief items. The final flight of an airlift of 16,100 tents from Pakistan to Chad will arrive later today in N'Djamena.