UNHCR opens 10th camp in eastern Chad; hundreds relocated
ADRE, Chad, Sept 28 (UNHCR) - The UN refugee agency has opened a 10th camp for Sudanese refugees in eastern Chad and is continuing to search for new inland sites should more refugees arrive from western Sudan's Darfur region.
On Monday, UNHCR moved 205 refugees from the overcrowded Breidjing camp to the new Treguine camp near Adré. A second convoy of 200 is scheduled to follow today, with a total of 15,000 to be moved over the next six weeks.
"Decongesting Breidjing camp is one of UNHCR's top priorities in Chad," said UNHCR spokeswoman Jennifer Pagonis at a news briefing in Geneva on Tuesday. "Breidjing has been hosting some 42,000 refugees, more than twice the number originally planned for the camp, which has overstretched the camp's resources and sanitation facilities."
She noted that many refugees had arrived at Breidjing camp by their own means from the border in recent months, and have been living in makeshift shelters just outside the camp's perimeter. They receive food, water and other relief items while waiting to be relocated to Treguine camp.
The transfer was delayed several times due to a lack of water at the new Treguine site. But UNHCR experts, working closely with the British non-governmental organisation Oxfam, drilled two boreholes just outside the camp's perimeter that will be able to supply drinking water for 15,000 people once they become operational in three to four months. In the meantime, water drawn from a nearby river will meet UNHCR's emergency standard of 15 litres per refugee per day.
An 11th camp is now under construction. When completed, Mader camp will be able to accommodate some 11,000 refugees now at Am Nabak, a waterless makeshift site set up by the refugees themselves. Currently, all water must be trucked in to Am Nabak, a cumbersome and expensive process.
Later this week, UNHCR is planning to start moving some 6,000 refugees still at the Chad-Sudan border to the existing camp at Farchana, which currently shelters 12,000 people, but has some additional capacity. The refugees scheduled to move to Farchana had opted to stay at the border until now. While monitoring the border areas, UNHCR and its partners in recent weeks have found thousands of refugees who now want to enter the camps because they have run out of resources.
The refugee agency is continuing the search for new sites with adequate water sources to build camps in eastern Chad as part of its contingency planning should thousands more refugees flee across the border from Sudan.