Chad: UN agency opens a third camp for refugees from Central African Republic
A continuing flow of people fleeing fighting in northern Central African Republic (CAR) between unidentified armed men and the military have forced the United Nations refugee agency to open a third camp in Chad to accommodate the new arrivals whose number has swelled to 12,500 since June.
On Wednesday, the first convoy of 200 of some 12,500 refugees who had been temporarily housed at the Amboko refugee site, were transferred to the new settlement near Goré, the main city in southern Chad, Ron Redmond, spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), told the press in Geneva today.
While Amboko was initially intended for 20,000 refugees who fled CAR in 2003, it is now “overburdened” with a total population exceeding 26,000 people, he said.
“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,” he added.
The new site can accommodate 18,000 refugees as well as offer space for agricultural activities. Over the next couple of months, all the 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.
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 country’s border with Chad.
UNHCR is assisting more than 43,000 CAR refugees in southern Chad who had fled instability at various periods, as well as more than 200,000 Sudanese refugees in 12 refugee camps in the east.