UNHCR revises budget for Chad operations to $55.8 million
GENEVA, June 11 (UNHCR) - Amid the continuing exodus from Sudan's Darfur region into Chad, the UN refugee agency has revised its budget to provide emergency assistance to 200,000 Sudanese refugees in Chad by the end of the year.
On Friday, UNHCR announced that it is revising its 2004 budget for the Chad emergency to $55.8 million. This is an increase of $35 million over the agency's previous appeal for $20.8 million. The revised budget will be officially launched next week.
"The increased budget takes into account the ongoing arrival of new refugees in Chad and plans to help 200,000 by the end of the year," explained UNHCR spokesman Kris Janowski at a news briefing in Geneva Friday. He noted that the agency has so far received $18 million, less than one-third of the revised needs.
"While new donations have recently come in, we need much more sustained donor support for this evolving crisis," he added.
The most recent contribution came from the African Union, which handed UNHCR a cheque for $60,000 in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa on Thursday. The money will be used for vital water projects in the barren desert area where the refugees have found shelter along the Chad-Sudan border.
"UNHCR is extremely pleased by the leadership shown by the African Union to address the security situation in Darfur," said David Lambo, who oversees UNHCR's operations in Africa. "We are also very happy to receive the African Union's contribution to help meet the needs of the Darfur refugees in Chad."
New contributions have also come in from the European Commission ($1,838,235), the United States ($1.2 million), Canada ($514,706), and Estonia ($39,163).
More funds are urgently needed for UNHCR's emergency operations in Chad, which range from relocating the Sudanese refugees to camps away from the insecure Chad-Sudan border, to airlifting relief supplies, providing assistance in the camps, and helping communities near the border.
More than 93,000 Sudanese refugees are now in UNHCR's eight camps in eastern Chad. The agency is rushing to transfer more people away from the border as the rainy season threatens to cut off roads and aid to the border sites. It is currently moving an estimated 15,000 refugees from Ade to Djabal camp, and plans to transfer 200-250 recently-arrived refugees this weekend from Birak to Mille camp.
On Thursday, refugees at Iridimi and Touloum camps received rations of sorghum, rice, beans, corn-soya blend, oil and salt. Some 7,000 tents that had been airlifted from Pakistan are now being delivered to the camps in Chad.
In the border town of Tissi, non-governmental organisation Première Urgence has been distributing food for some 3,000 refugees who decided to remain in the town where they are well-integrated with family members among the local population. Food from the UN World Food Programme has also been pre-positioned in the town, which Première Urgence says is now inaccessible because of flooded riverbeds.