UN refugee agency to relocate some 10,000 Sudanese along Chadian border
ADRE, Chad, Feb. 2 (UNHCR) - The UN refugee agency and Chadian authorities have registered nearly 10,000 Sudanese refugees along Chad's north-eastern frontier and are making urgent plans to move them inland, away from an area that came under a bombing attack last week.
A total of 4,357 Sudanese were registered in the area surrounding Tine, where three people were killed and more than a dozen others wounded in Thursday's aerial bombardment in the Red Hill area outside the city. Another 5,200 new arrivals had been registered in four areas between Tine and Birak, 60 km to the south.
A team from UNHCR's partner Norwegian Church Aid arrived in eastern Chad over the weekend and is starting work on a transit centre in Touloum, near Iriba, to begin receiving refugees from Tine possibly before the weekend. UNHCR also is beefing up its presence in Chad, deploying additional international staff this week to the border and hiring more local staff.
Since fighting broke out a year ago in Sudan's Darfur region, more than 110,000 refugees have fled into Chad. Of this number, an estimated 18,000 refugees arrived this year, following the collapse of peace talks in December. The newly arrived refugees told UNHCR they fled aerial bombardment and militia attacks in Sudan.
The refugees are scattered along Chad's semi-arid border region stretching for 600 km under a scorching sun during the day and bitter cold at night. Access to the refugees is difficult, requiring UNHCR staff to travel for days.
Meanwhile, relocation of refugees from the border south of Adré town in the eastern part of central Chad to a newly established refugee camp at Farchana, 50 km to the west, is picking up speed. UNHCR plans to step up the operation to run daily relocation convoys as of Wednesday. Convoys ran every other day previously.
The first border site targeted for the relocation, Wandalou, has been emptied of refugees, and movements have begun from a second site, Absogo. In all, 1,403 refugees have arrived safely in Farchana camp.
UNHCR teams have identified a site in the south of the affected region near Goz-Beida for possible relocation of refugees from the border zone between Ade and Tissi. The site, at Koukous, could shelter up to 10,000 refugees. Water and site-planning experts from the German agency THW (Technisches Hilfswerk) arrived in eastern Chad over the weekend and will be deployed in this region.