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Chad: rains continue to hamper activities

Briefing notes

Chad: rains continue to hamper activities

20 July 2004

Rains continue to hamper UNHCR's activities in eastern Chad with seasonal riverbeds - wadis - turning into quagmires, slowing down the transport of food and non-food items as well as aid staff travelling in the area. Bahai region in the north is now completely cut off by flooded wadis. On Sunday, a UNHCR team travelling in rented trucks from Bahai to Tine was seriously delayed by the flooded wadis, with the journey taking more than eight hours compared to one hour during the dry season. Alarmingly, a local truck driver said that some years ago he couldn't cross the wadi between Tine and Bahai for 36 days and added that Bahai becomes pretty much inaccessible from the Tine road between August and October.

UNHCR and WFP are looking at ways of bringing assistance to the refugees in the Bahai area by alternative routes from Libya and from northern Chad though El-Fayed. Meanwhile, our team in Bahai is working as fast as possible to continue moving the refugees to the recently opened camp of Oure-Cassoni. As of yesterday, more than 6,400 refugees had been transported to the new camp which opened on July 12. In total, there are now over 140,000 refugees in the nine UNHCR camps, with some 40,000 still encamped near the border.

Some 760 refugees, who had made their own way from the border to Touloum and Iridimi camps when they heard they could get regular assistance, were moved last week to Mile camp where they can be better accommodated.