In a race against time with the rainy season already at hand in remote southern Chad, the United Nations refugee agency has already relocated nearly a quarter of the 10,000 needy refugees from the Central African Republic (CAR) who are threatened with being cut off from all aid.
“The rains are already slowing the operation, with convoys increasingly having to cross rain-swollen wadis (dry riverbeds),” UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) spokesman Ron Redmond told a news briefing in Geneva today. “However, we have been able to move people every day since the beginning of the operation and we hope to finalize the movements within the next two to three weeks.”
UNHCR plans to relocate the refugees, mostly women and children, who have been living in makeshift settlements on the Chadian side of the remote border since fleeing unrest last month, to an existing camp at Amboko where humanitarian assistance can be more easily provided.
Amboko already hosts 13,000 CAR refugees who fled after a military coup in 2003, but it can accommodate up to 27,000 people. At the camp, the new arrivals are provided with UN World Food Programme (WFP) food rations, including beans, sorghum, oil and sugar, as well as with UNHCR relief items such as mats, jerry cans and kitchen utensils.
Chad is also hosting more than 200,000 Sudanese refugees from the war-torn Darfur region of Sudan who are currently housed in 12 camps in the eastern part of the country.