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Chad: Sudanese estimated at 125,000, but a million more internally displaced

Briefing notes

Chad: Sudanese estimated at 125,000, but a million more internally displaced

25 May 2004

A new UNHCR emergency airlift of relief supplies from around the world for the refugees in eastern Chad will start today, with the first flight departing from Denmark and scheduled to arrive in Ndjamena tomorrow. The Ilyushin 76 plane will bring 2000 pieces and 250 rolls of plastic sheeting, 6 prefabricated warehouses and 3 four-wheel-drive vehicles to reinforce our capacity in the east of Chad. The next phase of the airlift is scheduled to start on Thursday, with the first of a series of flights from Karachi, Pakistan, which will bring in a total of 7,000 tents for the camps at Breidjing, Mille and Goz-Amer. An Antonov 124 will bring in 10 trucks, registration materials, water bladders, generators, spare parts and buckets from Germany, scheduled to depart on May 31. We will also be flying in more supplies from our stocks in Ngara, Tanzania, including 84,000 blankets, 6,000 sheets of plastic, 1,450 rolls of plastic sheeting, 16,000 jerry cans, 8,000 kitchen sets, as well as sanitary napkins.

In all, nearly 77,000 Sudanese refugees have now moved to the seven camps UNHCR and its partners have set up in the interior of Chad. Our teams continue to transport refugees from the border and assist them in the camps.

Our working estimate right now is that there are currently 125,000 Sudanese refugees in Chad, including the 76,763 already in the camps. But we fear that this figure of 125,000 could increase very quickly if the situation does not improve in Darfur where there are close to one million displaced persons in camps. A new influx to Chad of these IDPs is not excluded, which will bring a new challenge to the humanitarian community.

In the newest camp, Breidjing, our Chadian partner, Projet Evangelique Développement Communautaire (PEDC) has managed to dig three wells in one week, and three more are planned. The maximum estimated capacity for Breidjing is for 20,000 refugees. In addition to refugees currently at the Chad-Sudan border, the camp will also receive 2,500 refugees who have arrived on their own at the nearby camp of Farchana. The refugees will be moved to Breidjing after screening by our partner, the Chadian governmental agency CNAR (Commission nationale d'Accueil et de réinsertion des réfugiés).

Another new site has been identified in Djabar, 3 km west of Goz-Beida, in the southern part of the refugee hosting region. Work on the site will start at the end of this week, so that we can continue to move refugees from the border towns of Mouraye, Daguessa and Tissi.

Funding: In a separate development, UNHCR welcomes a further contribution of $88.3 million from the United States, some of which will go for our overall operation in Chad. Half of the amount is for programmes in Africa. This latest contribution brings the U.S. total for UNHCR so far this year to more than $245 million.

Also, we are pleased to note that the Government of Japan, through the UN Fund for Human Security, has decided to make a contribution of US $1.1 million to the UNHCR programme for internally displaced communities in Colombia for 12 months. This is the first contribution of the Government of Japan to this project in Colombia. It will be used to strengthen the capacity of 56 IDP communities in four regions working for self-reliance to benefit some 117,000 IDPs.