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Chad: UNHCR launches new $6.2 million appeal for internally displaced

Briefing notes

Chad: UNHCR launches new $6.2 million appeal for internally displaced

27 February 2007

UNHCR today is issuing a US$6.2 million supplementary appeal to fund protection and assistance programmes for tens of thousands of internally displaced people (IDPs) in eastern Chad.

The latest appeal is in addition to our 2007 annual budget of $69.3 million for some 220,000 refugees from Sudan's neighbouring Darfur region in 12 camps in eastern Chad, and another 46,000 from the Central African Republic (CAR) in the south of the country. Chad is already struggling to cope with the refugees from Darfur and CAR. And it is now faced with the internal displacement of up to 120,000 of its own citizens amid spreading regional insecurity. The displacement began in late 2005 and worsened in 2006 with a series of bloody inter-ethnic attacks, exacerbated by competition for scarce water, grazing land and other resources - mostly in the south-east of Chad.

The new appeal includes a planning figure of up to 150,000 internally displaced by the end of 2007. It will cover a variety of protection and assistance needs for internally displaced Chadians under an approach modelled on the UN "cluster" system in coordination with the UN Country Team. It will include the transfer of up to 20,000 IDPs from makeshift spontaneous settlements to more organised sites. It will also cover regular UNHCR missions to IDP settlements; assistance to victims of gender-based violence; family tracing; profiling of displaced populations; monitoring of returns to some 150 villages; provision of emergency shelter and other non-food relief materials; and construction of site infrastructure.

The appeal acknowledges the difficulties of carrying out humanitarian work amid the growing insecurity in much of eastern Chad, noting that access to internally displaced populations is often limited. As you know, on Feb. 23, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon proposed to the Security Council that a multi-dimensional international mission be deployed to Chad with a mandate ranging from ensuring the security of civilians, maintaining law and order in refugee camps and towns housing humanitarian field offices, to facilitating free movement of aid and border monitoring.

Few humanitarian agencies have staff or offices in areas of displacement. In addition, most IDPs are scattered in numerous villages rather than in organised sites. Local authorities only have limited resources and little capacity to deal with the enormous needs of displaced populations.

The appeal notes that the attacks in eastern Chad mirror the pattern of violence in Sudan's Darfur region, with armed, mainly Arab men on horseback and camels attacking and burning African villages, destroying crops, stealing cattle, terrorising villagers and killing many inhabitants. The attacks allegedly involve mostly Chadian groups, with some degree of cooperation from the Sudanese Janjaweed militia.

The appeal says that inter-communal fighting intensified in 2006. Between February and April 2006, several Chadian villages near the border with Sudan were attacked. Villagers moved to what they thought would be safer areas, but were then attacked again, and again displaced. Despite efforts by Chadian authorities, the attacks continue. In November, a series of brutal raids on some 50 villages left over 250 people dead, hundreds wounded, at least 30 villages destroyed and 25,000 newly displaced. In December, another wave of attacks on villages in the Koukou-Angarana area left 30 people dead.

Currently, there are at least 25 settlements of internally displaced people in south-eastern Chad. But the appeal notes that the real extent of the displacement in south-eastern Chad remains difficult to assess.

To date, UNHCR has received $14 million, including $8 million from the United States, for its 2007 annual programme in Chad.