On its own, Chad is one of the poorest and most desperate countries in the world. Now, to make matters worse, Chad finds itself sandwiched between conflicts in Sudan and Central African Republic. Hundreds of thousands of refugees (pictured) from those countries have flooded into Chad in recent years.
The U.N. is struggling to keep up. Just this week, the High Commissioner on Refugees began moving 10,000 CAR refugees to a new camp, trying to outpace Chad’s paralyzing rainy season. It’s a “situation that regrettably gets very little play in the media,” according to U.N. rep Bryn Boyce.
The agency began moving the refugees — mostly farmers — last Friday from a transit centre some 25 kilometres from the Chad-CAR border to Moula, which is 150 kilometres inland.
Some 1,662 Central Africans have already been moved in two convoys and UNHCR hopes to have 15-truck convoys running every two days until the roads become impassable.
Arriving in southern Chad between January and March this year, this latest wave of refugees fled violence in northern CAR, according to UNHCR spokesperson Jennifer Pagonis.
At the better-equipped Moula camp, each family will be given a 2.5 hectare plot of land. Later this year, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) will distribute seeds and tools, and the UN World Food Programme (WFP) will provide monthly food rations.
Currently, the Central Africans reside in family tents but will shortly commence building their own homes.
UNHCR operates five camps in southern Chad for more than 56,000 northern CAR refugees, as well as one dozen centres in eastern Chad for 250,000 refugees from Sudan’s war-torn Darfur region.
I’ll be in Chad starting June 15, covering refugees and the newly arrived E.U. peacekeeping force. It’ll be an expensive trip. Please consider donating.