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Southern Chad: Central Africans continue to arrive - exhausted

Briefing notes

Southern Chad: Central Africans continue to arrive - exhausted

22 February 2008

In southern Chad, UNHCR teams have registered 10,516 refugees from the northern part of neighbouring Central African Republic at two border crossings - Maya and Bougounanga. Hundreds more are awaiting screening by our teams and new arrivals are crossing the border every day. The first refugees crossed into Chad last December in relatively small numbers. Major influxes took place in January and continue this month. Many refugees report attacks in their villages by bandits.

A four-member UNHCR emergency mission which went to the Maya border region yesterday (Thursday) reported that the refugees are exhausted by their long journey to reach safety in Chad. Refugees are living out in the open with only makeshift shelters and trees for cover. They are currently about 800 metres from the volatile border.

The refugees will first be relocated to Dembo, 25 km north of the border, with the first movements scheduled to start on Wednesday. Together with Africa Concern, UNHCR is setting up a transit centre in Dembo where refugees will be provided with relief items. Three trucks carrying supplies left N'Djamena on Wednesday with 400 tents, 6,000 blankets, 4,187 jerry cans, 6,000 mats and 400 rolls of plastic sheeting. The convoy is expected to reach Danamadji - where UNHCR has an office - today. The World Food Programme is also planning to do a food distribution in Dembo.

Meanwhile, we are working with local authorities to later move the refugees who wish so to one of the three refugees camp, near Goré - the main town in south Chad. Altogether, there are at least 50,000 refugees from northern CAR in three camps and along the border in southern Chad.