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Chad camp registrations to begin, emergency airlift continues

Briefing notes

Chad camp registrations to begin, emergency airlift continues

22 February 2005

UNHCR and its partners will start registering Sudanese refugees from Darfur in three of the eleven camps in eastern Chad tomorrow (Wednesday) as part of a continuing effort to get a more complete picture of the some 200,000 refugees in the region. The three camps targeted for tomorrow are Farchana, Breidjing and Treguine, all in the Adré area. We want to compile a more accurate count in the camps and gather specific information on their age, gender and area of origin in Darfur. This information will help UNHCR and its partners better identify the services the refugees need in the camps and to improve programmes to meet these needs.

The registration is a two-phase exercise which is expected to continue through March. In the first phase, UNHCR and its partners count the number of people in each refugee family and verify their address in the camps. In the second phase of the registration, all refugees 18 years old and older will receive an ID card. Last week, the first phase of the registration was successfully completed in four camps - Touloum, Iridimi, Mile and Kounoungo. The first phase has also already been completed in the temporary site of Am Nabak and in Goz Amer and Djabal camps. The remaining camp - Oure Cassoni - will undergo registration in the coming weeks to complete phase one throughout eastern Chad. While the final numbers will not be available until the end of the entire exercise, initial indications show that the population could be around 15 percent fewer than previously thought.

Getting an accurate count of the refugee population in eastern Chad has been particularly challenging. The refugee-hosting region covers a 600-km long border zone, much of which is inaccessible during the rainy months. While UNHCR transferred the vast majority of the refugees to the camps on convoys from the border over the past year, many other refugees have come to the camps on their own, swelling the population in the camps often beyond their intended capacity. Many refugees have also moved in and out of the camps, sometimes returning briefly to Sudan to check on property and the situation then coming back to the camps in Chad.

Meanwhile, our emergency airlift to Chad continues. A flight arrived in the Chadian capital N'Djamena on Saturday with vehicles, computer equipment and 600 footballs donated by FIFA for Sudanese refugee children. Another flight is planned for early next week with plastic sheeting and vehicles and motorcycles to improve our staff's mobility. The flight will also bring volleyballs donated by FIVB. Four more flights with tents from Pakistan have already arrived in Chad so far this year. In all, the emergency airlift has brought in more than 3,600 tonnes of equipment and relief supplies on 95 flights since January, 2004.