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UNHCR opens a third refugee site in southern Chad

Briefing notes

UNHCR opens a third refugee site in southern Chad

15 December 2005

Earlier this week, UNHCR opened a new refugee site in southern Chad to cope with refugees from the Central African Republic (CAR) who started crossing the border in early June to seek safety from general lawlessness and instability in the north of the country.

On Wednesday, the first convoy of 200 of some 12,500 refugees who had been temporarily housed at the nearby Amboko refugee site, were transferred to the new settlement at Gondjé, near Goré, the main city in southern Chad. The new site can accommodate 18,000 refugees as well as offer space for agricultural activities. Over the next couple of months, all the group of post-June arrivals will be progressively transferred to the new site, with three convoys a week carrying a total of about 1,000-1,200 refugees.

Amboko site was initially intended for 20,000 refugees who fled CAR in 2003. It was overburdened with the recent arrivals, reaching a total population of 26,237. The recent arrivals were also occupying land reserved for agricultural activities by the existing camp population to help them become more self-reliant and reduce their dependence on humanitarian assistance, as prospects for voluntary repatriation are currently slim.

There have been no recent reports of fresh arrivals from CAR, but according to local authorities, a further 3,500 refugees are reported to be staying in villages near the CAR border.

UNHCR is assisting more than 43,000 CAR refugees in southern Chad and more than 200,000 Sudanese refugees in 12 refugee camps in the east.