Eastern Chad: Sudanese refugee camp in Oure Cassoni to be relocated
UNHCR welcomes the decision by the government of Chad to relocate the Oure Cassoni refugee camp away from the volatile border area with Sudan. The camp currently accommodates some 28,000 refugees from Darfur.
We have been advocating for several year with Chadian authorities for the camp, which is located just seven kilometres from the Sudanese border, to be moved to a more accessible area.
In addition to being in a location where protection and security cannot be fully guaranteed by UNHCR, the camp's residents suffer from severe water and fire-wood shortages. Our key protection concern, however, was the ongoing recruitment of child soldiers by armed Sudanese opposition groups and the mounting militarization of the camp.
On Friday, 18 September, UNHCR together with a delegation of Chadian government officials and the UN special representative, visited a proposed site of the new camp, 45 kilometres north of the town of Bahai.
Our technical team is investigating whether the proposed site is suitable for a new camp. We may also consider, together with the Government, relocating the Oure Cassoni population to several smaller refugee camps.
This week we will begin informing the residents of Oure Cassoni of plans to move the camp, which has been in operation for five years.
Once a suitable site has been identified, planning the logistical aspects of the move will get underway. This will include designing the new camp, drilling boreholes and setting up tents to accommodate the refugees who will then construct their homes on their allocated spaces.
The relocation will be carried out in close collaboration with our UN sister agencies WFP and UNICEF. In terms of security we'll rely on MINURCAT (Mission des Nations Unies en République Centrafricaine et au Tchad) who may eventually also provide their support regarding the logistical challenge of moving the refugees.
Early estimates indicate that UNHCR will need to raise an additional US$ 9 million to carry out the relocation operation.
UNHCR assists 250,000 Sudanese refugees in 12 camps in eastern Chad. In southern Chad we care for some 70,000 refugees from the Central African Republic.