UNHCR back in Chad's violence-hit camps; completes transfer from border town
ABECHE, Chad, July 27 (UNHCR) - The UN refugee agency has resumed work at two troubled camps in eastern Chad and completed the transfer of Sudanese refugees from a border town to another camp in the north.
Over the weekend, UNHCR and its partners returned to Farchana and Breidjing camps after being ordered by the Chadian government to withdraw temporarily due to unrest over the last two weeks in which aid workers were attacked. Two refugees were killed last Thursday when government troops entered Farchana camp to find those responsible for the attacks.
The aid agencies met with the local authorities and refugee leaders at both sites on Saturday and agreed that humanitarian work could resume safely.
Water supply in Farchana, home to 11,800 Sudanese refugees, was restored on Thursday following a two-day cut-off due to the incidents.
Breidjing camp now hosts 30,000 registered refugees as well as an estimated 5,000 who have arrived on their own at the site and have not yet been integrated into a camp. The latter group will receive food once the Chadian government refugee agency, CNAR, completes their registration in a few days. There will also be a general food distribution for the rest of the camp this weekend.
"The Breidjing site cannot support such a large number of refugees, so we are planning to move those who arrived on their own to other camps," said UNHCR spokeswoman Jennifer Pagonis at a news briefing in Geneva on Tuesday. "We will also move some of the registered refugees to another camp to help ease the pressure on Breidjing."
Further north, UNHCR has completed the transfer of refugees from the border town of Bahai to Oure Cassoni camp. The agency has begun moving refugees from nearby Cariari, which should be completed by the end of the week. The total number of refugees in these two border towns now seems to be lower than expected based on the figures provided by CNAR.
So far, UNHCR is accommodating a total of more than 140,000 refugees who have moved from the insecure Chad-Sudan border to the nine camps in eastern Chad.
There is a separate group of 14,800 refugees registered by CNAR at the site of Am Nabak, where there is insufficient water to establish a camp. They have been receiving some assistance and UNHCR has been offering to move them from Am Nabak to Mile camp. The refugees were reluctant at first, but have now indicated they would be willing to move to another site. The UN agency is trying to identify a location to accommodate them.
Meanwhile, UNHCR's emergency airlift to Chad continues, with flights from Spain, Sweden and Denmark expected to arrive this week with vehicles, water buckets, tents, generators, fuel bladders and other relief items. The final flight of an airlift of 16,100 tents from Pakistan to Chad will arrive later today in the Chadian capital, N'Djamena.