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Chad: High Commissioner arrives Sunday

Briefing notes

Chad: High Commissioner arrives Sunday

27 February 2004

The High Commissioner arrives on Sunday in Chad where he will review first-hand our operations to assist 110,000 Sudanese refugees along the Chad-Sudan border and relocate them to safety in camps being set up in the interior of Chad. He will travel to eastern Chad and will visit a site near Adré, right at the border, where refugees have gathered and are living in makeshift shelters before moving to Farchana camp, further inside Chad. He will also meet with government officials to discuss the operation.

At the same time, we have expanded our emergency airlift operation to bring aid into Chad for the 110,000 refugees, with five more planes scheduled to deliver tents and relief supplies to Chad from Karachi, Pakistan. The first flight arrived in N'Djamena this morning and the tents are being loaded onto trucks to take them to the camps in eastern Chad. The airlift from Tanzania delivering blankets, plastic sheeting, kitchen sets and soap continues. The fifth flight in that airlift from Tanzania is scheduled to arrive tomorrow, and two more are scheduled to complete the operation.

So far, more than 7,000 refugees have been moved from the volatile border to camps further inside Chad. Three camps are currently receiving refugees relocated from the border, while work is underway on a fourth camp and UNHCR and its partners continue scouting out additional possible campsites. Farchana camp currently shelters 1,996 refugees, Touloum has 4,803 refugees, and Kounoungo has 340.

Refugees continue to arrive on foot at Touloum, and the number of people arriving on their own has begun to put strains on the limited water supply at the site. Starting tomorrow, we will relocate some of those arriving to Kounoungo. Our staff and Chadian authorities are trying to get the word out to the refugees heading toward Touloum on foot to go to Kounoungo instead. Eleven trucks with water equipment arrived yesterday in eastern Chad, and will be sent to the two camps.

Meanwhile, convoys are planned for tomorrow to relocate refugees from the border at Tine and Guimeze to Kounoungo.

So far, we have received $6,285,711 for our Chad emergency operation for 2004, including, $5 million which we will receive today from the United States, and contributions from Italy, the European Commission and Sweden. In all, we need $20,782,000 for this year.

In a related development, in response to our November 2003 appeal for $8.8 million to fund preparatory activities for the repatriation of Sudanese refugees, we have just received the first contributions, with $2.7 million from the United States and $380,000 from Canada.