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Chad: Distribution of emergency relief supplies

Briefing notes

Chad: Distribution of emergency relief supplies

26 September 2003

UNHCR's emergency staff in eastern Chad has started making preparations for the urgent distribution of relief supplies to more than 65,000 Sudanese refugees who have been living under difficult conditions near the Chad - Sudan border. This first consignment of relief supplies airlifted from our regional stockpile in Ngara, western Tanzania, can meet the needs of up to 40,000 people. Other arrangements are being made for the delivery of further supplies.

By yesterday (Thursday), UNHCR's emergency team in the eastern Chadian town of Abéché, some 170 km from the border, had begun planning the distribution of aid to the refugees who are scattered across some 20 locations along the remote and unsafe border region. Because of the continuing rainy season, access to some of the outlying areas is extremely difficult. Our strategy for distribution is to target areas where there are already large concentrations of refugees such as Tine, Birak and Farchana. The emergency team is also working towards regrouping the refugees into four main sites already proposed by local authorities.

Since their arrival in Abéché last week, the UNHCR team has been working with the local authorities to evaluate the proposed sites to ensure better access, security and assistance for the refugees. We remain very concerned about the safety of the refugees, many of whom are living too close to the volatile border. There continue to be reports of incursions in areas such as Tine, some 130 km north - east of Abéché. The government estimates that there are more than 20,000 refugees in Tine, a town which straddles the Chad - Sudan border.

Meanwhile, UNHCR on Thursday dispatched four more light vehicles to Abéché from the Chadian capital, N'Djamena, significantly beefing up our logistical capacity in eastern Chad. The vehicles are expected to arrive in Abéché on Saturday. With improved means of transport, we will be able to visit more locations where there are refugees and expedite the distribution of supplies.