Aid workers in Chad persist in helping refugees despite recent clashes – UN agency

30 December 2005

Despite clashes between Chadian forces and armed groups along the Sudanese border in recent weeks, humanitarian workers continue offering aid to refugees living in camps in eastern Chad, home to some 200,000 people who have fled the Darfur region, the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) said today.

Despite clashes between Chadian forces and armed groups along the Sudanese border in recent weeks, humanitarian workers continue offering aid to refugees living in camps in eastern Chad, home to some 200,000 people who have fled the Darfur region, the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) said today.

“Humanitarian aid workers are as dedicated as ever: food distribution, education and health services are provided; protection services are ongoing,” the agency said.

Offering a glimpse into the life of a UNHCR community services assistant, the agency profiled Béatrice Danezoune, who helps those who have suffered everything from losing refugee cards to forced marriage, rape and genital mutilation.

The 23-year-old Chadian UNHCR assistant also helps lead workshops for midwives, whom she must inform about the dangers of female genital mutilation (FGM), which they often perform on young female refugees.

At a recent gathering, she explained the dangers of mutilation, which can cause severe pain, prolonged bleeding, infection, infertility and sometimes death.

Ms. Danezoune’s presentation on the dangers of the practice was well received, but she said it is difficult to halt genital mutilation. “Although UNHCR and health partners keep sending the message constantly, the traditional practice in Mile and Kounoungou refugee camps is still alive and well,” she said.

Recent figures from the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) show that an estimated 3 million girls in sub-Saharan African and the Middle East suffer genital cutting every year.

 

♦ Receive daily updates directly in your inbox - Subscribe here to a topic.
♦ Download the UN News app for your iOS or Android devices.