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Chad: aid distributed to 6,000 Sudanese refugees

Briefing notes

Chad: aid distributed to 6,000 Sudanese refugees

23 March 2004

UNHCR and its partners distributed aid to 6,000 Sudanese refugees in the Chadian border town of Bahai over the weekend. The refugees received buckets, jerry cans and soap from UNICEF; blankets and mats from UNHCR; and a 15-day supply of sorghum, corn-soya blend and oil from the World Food Programme. The distribution was coordinated by UNHCR and CARE and followed a registration carried out earlier in the week by our partner, CNAR (Commission Nationale d'Accueil et de Réinsertion des Réfugiés).

The refugees in Bahai fled their villages in the Kornoi area in western Sudan's Darfur region after aerial bombing and attacks by armed militia in January and February. They have been living in flimsy, makeshift shelters scattered around Bahai village, where they are exposed to regular sandstorms and cold nighttime temperatures. Initially, they survived on meagre food supplies they brought with them when they fled. Later, when that ran out, they did small jobs for the local people in Bahai to earn enough to buy food. The Chadians also shared some of their food with the refugees. UNHCR is offering to transfer any refugees who wish to move to a new transit centre at Iridimi, where they can get regular assistance.

Over the weekend, UNHCR also organized the first convoys to the Iridimi transit centre from the border town of Tine. Refugees who recently arrived by foot to the camp at Touloum were also transferred to Iridimi. Touloum camp has reached its capacity in terms of water for the time being. As of yesterday, 367 people had been transferred to Iridimi.

In all, nearly 13,000 refugees have been transferred to four camps and transit centres currently in operation. Farchana camp hosts 3,271 refugees, Touloum has 5,804, Kounoungo has 3,517, and Iridimi has 367. A fifth camp should soon begin receiving refugees from the border zone. The camp, at Goz Amer, will be the first opened in the southern part of the affected region in eastern Chad and will receive refugees currently staying near the border town of Ade.