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Chad: over 20,000 Sudanese now moved away from border

Briefing notes

Chad: over 20,000 Sudanese now moved away from border

1 April 2004

More than 20,000 Sudanese refugees have now moved from the Chad-Sudan border to five camps in the interior of Chad in a massive relocation operation to transfer refugees before the start of the rainy season in late May. The pace of the UNHCR-organised operation has increased steadily and we're now able to move more than 1,000 refugees every day. Forty trucks and three buses shuttle back and forth between the border and the camps, bringing the refugees to safer locations where they can receive regular assistance.

In all, 20,084 refugees are now living in five camps. Farchana camp hosts 5,310 refugees; Kounoungo has 4,692; Touloum has 5,804; Iridemy has 3,494; and Goz Amer 1 has 784.

It is becoming increasingly urgent that we set up additional new camps because most of the existing sites are quickly approaching capacity. In addition to the regular relocation convoys from the border, refugees continue to arrive on their own at the camps, some travelling by foot to accompany their livestock. Small numbers of refugees are still crossing the border in the north, and many are going south from the town of Bahai to Tine on foot, then continuing onwards to the camps of Touloum and Iridemy. Camp figures are mounting quickly, and within 10 days, Iridemy, Farchana, and Kounoungo camps are likely to be full. Touloum stopped receiving new refugees already two weeks ago, pending increases in the water supply at the site. UNHCR's site planner has spent several days in the field identifying and assessing new sites; one in the north, between Iriba and Guéréda, called Abnebak; one near Farchana, called Tangore; and today a second site in the south (after the existing camp Goz Amer), near Goz Beida.

In the south, an estimated 5,000 refugees in Daguessa are suffering significantly higher levels of malnutrition and illness than those in other sites along the border. Because of their poor health, we are making their transfer to the new camp at Goz Amer 1 a priority, and hope to begin the transfers as early as this Sunday. In cooperation with our partners, including MSF- Holland, CNAR, COOPI, CRT and Intersos, we also hope to continue simultaneously the convoys from Mouraye to Goz Amer.