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Chad: funding slow, fears for future water and fuel supplies

Briefing notes

Chad: funding slow, fears for future water and fuel supplies

11 May 2004

Although our team in eastern Chad is continuing to move tens of thousands of Sudanese refugees from the dangerous border area with Sudan's Darfur region to safer camps further inland, we are extremely concerned about the ongoing challenges we and our partners are facing in what is one of the most difficult humanitarian operations anywhere. Those include a vast, insecure and remote area of operations, stretching along some 600 km of borderland; severe logistical challenges, including transport difficulties; water shortages for growing camp populations, which also makes finding new sites extremely difficult; a looming shortage of fuel and firewood; and last but certainly not least, slow funding. So far, we have only received about $14 million of the $21 million needed for this urgent operation. Given the continuing seriousness of the situation in Darfur, it is certainly possible that we'll have to increase UNHCR's planning figure for this operation in eastern Chad to more than the current 110,000.

We have now moved some 55,000 Sudanese refugees away from the dangerous Chad-Sudan border to safer camps further inland, including to a new site opened late last week. It is the sixth camp we've opened so far in eastern Chad. The new camp at Mille has received 724 refugees, including some who have been staying in the border area around Birak and Tine and refugees who had travelled on their own to the camp at Kounoungo, which is already at full capacity.

In all, we have transferred 12,498 refugees to Touloum camp, 12,222 refugees to Iridimi, 724 to Mille, 8,269 to Kounoungo, 10,860 to Farchana and 10,478 to Goz Amer. In addition, some 10,000 refugees have made their own way to the camps.

This week, we are distributing food and household items to some 27,000 Sudanese refugees in north-eastern Chad. Some 12,500 refugees have been registered at Cariari, and 14,448 at Bahai. Together with our partner CARE, we will distribute jerry cans, buckets and plastic sheeting to ease somewhat their difficult and precarious existence in the desert. We also plan to distribute 15-day food rations of corn flour, sorghum, corn-soya blend, beans and oil from the World Food Programme. This is the second time we have distributed WFP food to refugees at Bahai. The first distribution was on March 20 and 21 to the 5,000 refugees registered at that time, but the numbers have swelled since a new influx of refugees began to the area in early April.

In addition, we began yesterday a three-day distribution of food in Iridimi transit camp that should last the refugees for a month.