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Chad: New transfer site for Sudanese refugees

Briefing notes

Chad: New transfer site for Sudanese refugees

18 March 2004

UNHCR is sending a team today to distribute aid to more than 6,000 Sudanese refugees in the town of Bahai, in the northern part of the refugee-affected Chad-Sudan border zone. This weekend, humanitarian workers will distribute food provided by the World Food Programme, along with buckets, soap and jerry cans provided by UNICEF, and mats and blankets provided by UNHCR. The non-governmental organization Care Chad will be in charge of the distribution. The refugees currently in Bahai arrived in Chad in late January and early February following aerial bombing of their villages and attacks by armed militia.

On Sunday, we are scheduled to begin relocating refugees to a new transit centre, the fourth to receive refugees in eastern Chad in an ongoing operation to get them away from the insecure border to safer sites further inland. Refugees in the border town of Tine will move to the new site at Iridimi, 7 km north-west of the town of Iriba. At first, water will be trucked to the site from Iriba until our partner, Norwegian Church Aid, can drill boreholes there in the next two weeks. Some 80,000 to 100,000 litres a day will be brought in to meet the needs of up to 7,000 refugees.

So far, 11,958 refugees have been moved inland to the three existing sites. Farchana now shelters 2,756 refugees; Kounoungo hosts 3,398; and Touloum has 5,804. Relocation movements from the border to Farchana and Kounoungo are ongoing, but movements to Touloum are on hold until more water can be made available there.

To date, we have received contributions of nearly $9.2 million for 2004 for our operations in eastern Chad, out of $20.8 million needed this year. This week, we received confirmation that Microsoft will contribute $25,000 to our Chad appeal. This represents the first corporate donation to the Chad emergency. It's much appreciated and part of ongoing cooperation between Microsoft and UNHCR in a number of areas.