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Chad: Rampant insecurity wreaking havoc on humanitarian activities

Briefing notes

Chad: Rampant insecurity wreaking havoc on humanitarian activities

1 February 2007

Rampant insecurity continues to wreak havoc on humanitarian activities across eastern Chad, disrupting access to refugees and displaced populations and putting further strain on field teams already reduced in strength due to security considerations.

Fighting yesterday (Thursday) in Adré between Chadian anti-government forces and the Chadian army left about a dozen civilians dead and at least 40 wounded in and around the town of Adré. Some of the wounded have been evacuated to Abéché hospital. The area has been sheltering hundreds of internally displaced Chadians.

Heavy fighting forced all aid agencies in Farchana, about an hour's drive west of Adré, to remain at their bases for the entire day. As a result, agencies did not have access to three refugee camps - Farchana, Treguine and Breidjing - which together house about 62,000 Sudanese refugees from the neighbouring Darfur region.

Also yesterday (Thursday) in the Goz Beida area of south-eastern Chad, four trucks transporting aid supplies donated by the government of Chad for thousands of displaced Chadians were attacked by armed men on horseback near Am Timan - 300 km south of Goz Beida.

Earlier this week, humanitarian agencies operating in the Goz Beida/Koukou region had been confined to their bases due to persistent insecurity throughout the area. They were able to go to Djabal and Goz Amir refugee camps (combined population of 33,000) today, however.

Meanwhile, in Guéréda, ongoing hostilities between the Tama and Zaghawa communities threaten to have a disastrous effect on the ability of humanitarian agencies to provide assistance to the nearby Kounoungou and Mile refugee camps, which respectively host 13,000 and 15,500 Sudanese refugees. We have decided to temporarily relocate some of our staff in Guéréda until the situation calms down. Dozens of wounded combatants have reportedly been evacuated to the hospital in Guéréda. Several days ago, a couple of local children playing with unexploded ordnance they had come across suffered major injuries, requiring amputation of their legs.

UNHCR is profoundly concerned about the unrelenting insecurity throughout eastern Chad and the precarious conditions in which literally hundreds of thousands of Sudanese refugees from Darfur and internally displaced Chadians fear for their lives. We are also worried about renewed reports of recruitment by all sides of refugees and IDPs in several camps and displacement sites. We have approached Chadian authorities and the refugees themselves to stress the urgent need to maintain the civilian character of camps.

We continue to advocate for the deployment of a multi-dimensional presence to strengthen security in eastern Chad.

There are 110,000 internally displaced people in eastern Chad. Chad is also hosting 230,000 Sudanese refugee in 12 camps in the eastern region as well as 46,000 refugees from the Central African Republic in the south.