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Chad: Miserable living conditions of Sudanese refugees

Briefing notes

Chad: Miserable living conditions of Sudanese refugees

5 September 2003

Some 65,000 Sudanese refugees who have fled to Chad in recent months are living in miserable conditions in the north and north-east of the country, an assessment mission has found. The mission was made up of UNHCR officials, representatives of the UN World Food Programme and two Chadian members of Parliament. They found the refugees - who fled fighting and ethnic violence in the Darfur region of Western Sudan - living out in the open with no shelter and blankets or plastic sheeting to protect them. They have little food, no safe drinking water and no health care. The mission reports that some children have died of malaria, diarrhoea and starvation.

The Chadian government only recently alerted UNHCR to the presence of the refugees, who started arriving in April. This mission has found that new refugees are arriving every day. The mission called for urgent measures to supply canvas, plastic sheeting, food, water, mosquito nets, medicine and household items to the refugees to quickly avert a tragedy.

The refugees are fleeing fighting between the Sudan Liberation Movement and Khartoum government forces in the Darfur region of western Sudan. Refugees told the mission that the violence has also led to ethnic strife between Sudanese of Arab origin and those of African origin.