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Internally Displaced Persons in Chad
December 18, 2006
On December 5, United Nations agencies, along with many of their partner nongovernmental organizations, decided to drastically reduce the numbers of their staff in the field because of insecurity. MSF fears the impact that this withdrawal will have on the refugee populations, which are highly dependent on this aid. Internally displaced Chadians who have benefited from only minimal assistance now face even fewer opportunities to obtain aid. Despite the difficult security conditions, MSF is strengthening its aid program throughout eastern Chad on behalf of refugees, residents and displaced persons.
Since 2003, nearly 200,000 Sudanese have taken refuge in eastern Chad, near the border with Sudan. They have been housed in refugee camps for three years. However, since the end of last year, this region has also been the site of confrontations among the government army and various rebel groups hostile to Chad's President Idriss Deby. The rebels are using Sudan as a staging ground.
This violent conflict is increasing in intensity throughout the far eastern region of the country and many people (primarily military) have been wounded. In addition, attacks are targeting Chad's civilian populations directly, particularly in the Dar Sila region. They are of varied intensity and breadth and range from the theft of cattle to setting villages on fire and killing the populations. Most of the displaced we have been talking to describe their assailants as "Janjaweed" (literally, "thieves on horseback") or "Arab nomads." In fact, this term encompasses a wide range of armed actors, including rebels, bandits, militias, etc. These various actors lean on different ethnic groups at a time of strained relationships between nomads and sedentary populations, who are fighting over access to land, water and agricultural resources.
About 50,000 people have fled their home in the surroundings. They are accommodated by relatives or set up on many sites in makeshift huts in the surroundings of villages considered more secured. There is no precise figures, but we also know that a few thousand have fled to Darfur (2,000 arrived in Habila in November after the attack of Koloye).
The Chadian authorities and the aid system have left these people on the scrap heap: no protection, no assistance. Very few humanitarian organizations are bringing assistance to them. As people have fled their home and can't go back to harvest, the two main concerns, in short/mid term, are food security and access to water.
MSF Assistance to the Displaced
MSF has been assisting the displaced in the Dar Sila region since the beginning of 2006. We have medical activities in
Dogdoré, Adé, Kerfi, Tcharo, and
Habilé. We also used to have a program in Koloye but we had to evacuate because of insecurity at the end of October. In mid-November, Koloye and its surroundings have been attacked and our base looted. The residents and the displaced (5,000) have been forced to move, some of which in Adé where we are running activities.
Dogdoré(30 kilometers from the Sudanese border), free care and emergency medical treatment are available via a health center, mobile medical visits and a hospitalization unit. In addition, 180,000 liters of water are provided daily thanks to a pumping and water treatment station.
Adé, a mobile team provides medical care and distributed essential supplies to the displaced persons.
Habilé(near Goz Beida), a mobile team offers medical care.
With nearly 80 international volunteers and 1,000 Chadians, MSF is working with all populations in this complex situation. Teams continue to provide assistance to refugees from Darfur in the camps (Farchana and Bredjing between Adré and Abéché, Touloum and Iridimi, near Iriba, further north), to resident and refugee populations in the Adré, Iriba, Tiné and Guereda hospitals and to displaced Chadians in the Dar Sila in Dogdoré, Adé, Kerfi, Tcharo and Habilé.