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Refugees from Central African Republic continue to arrive in Chad

Briefing notes

Refugees from Central African Republic continue to arrive in Chad

24 March 2009

Refugees continue to arrive in the remote village of Daha in south-eastern Chad, fleeing ongoing insecurity in the northern Central African Republic (CAR). A group of 130 CAR refugees reached safety in Chad over the weekend after crossing the river bordering the two countries. We have now registered over 6,800 CAR refugees in two sites near Daha village. Another 2,500 new CAR refugees are staying in the Chadian village of Massambaye, a second entry point about 125 km east of Daha. Both Daha and Massambaye are located about a kilometre from the volatile Chad-CAR border.

The majority of the recent arrivals are women, children and elderly people. In Daha, refugees told UNHCR they fled Kounde village in northern CAR, where fighting between rebels and government troops reportedly continues. Refugees said they walked for two days before reaching the border. They said more people were still hiding in the bush in CAR for fear of being attacked or killed, and were trying to reach safety in Chad. The first groups of refugees to the Daha area started to arrive in mid January.

Refugees say they are unwilling to return to their homes at this point due to the ongoing insecurity in northern CAR. They also say they want to remain close to the border. UNHCR and its partners are distributing aid items to the refugees, including plastic sheeting, mats, blankets, and jerry cans. The refugees have started to build their own small huts. We will continue to provide ad hoc assistance to those in Daha and Massambaye, but the region will become inaccessible once the rainy season starts at the end of April.

The World Food Programme (WFP) provided a one-month food ration and further distributions are planned. MSF-France currently provides clean water to the refugees and UNICEF has built communal latrines. UNHCR has been supporting Daha's local health centre. Malnourished refugee children are being provided with supplementary food and all newly arrived children are receiving vaccinations for measles and polio.

There are already 56,000 refugees from the CAR in five camps in southern Chad. In eastern Chad, over 250,000 Sudanese refugees from the Darfur region are hosted in 12 UNHCR-run camps. We also assist 166,000 internally displaced Chadians.