Global perspective Human stories

Humanitarian supplies airlifted into eastern Chad - UN refugee agency

Humanitarian supplies airlifted into eastern Chad - UN refugee agency

UN agency staff interviewing internally displaced women
The French military is airlifting tons of humanitarian supplies to the town of Abeche in Chad's remote east to bring relief to the estimated 200,000 people seeking shelter and safety there from the violence engulfing Sudan's Darfur region, the United Nations refugee agency said today.

Aircraft carrying medical kits, fuel bladders, communications equipment and other relief items have been shuttling between the Chadian capital, N'Djamena, and Abeche since Saturday, UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) spokesperson Jennifer Pagonis said.

Briefing reporters in Geneva, Ms. Pagonis said the French planes transported some 40 tons of supplies - originally sent from Denmark - over the weekend. Aid agencies began airlifting supplies after heavy rains in eastern Chad and western Sudan made many roads impassable.

Ms. Pagonis said some of the medical kits are designed specifically to treat cholera, and have been sent to at least three refugee camps in case there is a sudden outbreak of the disease.

At least 144,000 people from Darfur have been transferred into UNHCR's nine camps in eastern Chad. These camps are away from the border and the threat of raids by the notorious Janjaweed militias. Another 14,800 people are living at Am Nabak, a separate site away from the border.

Ms. Pagonis said work will start tomorrow on setting up a new camp at Treguine. This camp, which will be run by the International Federation of the Red Cross, is expected to house up to 17,000 people, including many from the congested UNHCR camp at Breidjing.

Meanwhile, Japan announced yesterday that it will donate $3.7 million so that the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) can conduct campaigns in Sudan against polio, measles and malaria.

UN officials estimate 1.2 million people are internally displaced within Darfur, a region the size of France, because of deadly attacks against civilians by the Janjaweed and also fighting between Government forces and two rebel groups. The situation in Darfur has been described as the world's worst humanitarian crisis.