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Southeastern Chad: Increasing Assistance to Displaced Amid Violence
February 7, 2007
According to many displaced people attacks are generally being carried out by armed militia. In attacks on villages many people have been killed and wounded, belongings and food stores have either been burned or pillaged, sometimes entire villages have been burned to the ground. The displaced are forced to leave their homes with few belongings, they struggle to survive with little food and without the means to support themselves and are prevented from returning to their homes by patrolling gunmen. Many displaced remain in informal settlements in insecure areas where they receive little or no assistance.
Increased humanitarian needs due to violence and rising numbers of displaced come at a time when, in a parallel development, southeastern Chad has become the scene of confrontations between Chadian military and armed groups opposed to the Chadian government. The unstable security environment limits many aid agencies' capacity to respond swiftly to the humanitarian needs of the displaced, especially their lack of food, water, and shelter.
MSF is meanwhile providing medical assistance, drinking water, and survival supplies in about a dozen locations where people have gathered for safety or have been offered refuge by other communities:
In the village of Adé, bordering Sudan, MSF works in the local health center and sees about 600 patients a month. Relief items have been distributed to about 25,000 people in the area and the drinking water system is being restored. Activities in Adé have been interrupted for some days due to insecurity but have meanwhile resumed.
A medical team based in Goz Beida sees about 1,800 patients every month, the majority of them in the nearby Gassire displaced site where between 8,000 and 10,000 people have gathered in makeshift huts. 3,000 children in the camp have been vaccinated against measles. During weekly visits to Kerfi and Sassebana further south, villagers and displaced receive basic medical care or are being referred to Goz Beida should they need further treatment. Relief items such as plastic sheeting, blankets, soap and buckets have been distributed to a total of 10,000 people in Gassire and Sassebana
Further north, a medical team based in Hadjer Hadid reaches out to the Goz Bagar and Goundiang displaced sites where more than a thousand patients are being treated every month during mobile clinics.
The violence has not yet directly affected the numerous refugee camps housing some 200,000 men, women and children who fled fighting in Sudan's Darfur region since 2003. MSF provides medical care to a total of about 80,000 people living in Iridimi, Touloum, Farchana and Bredjing refugee camps and to the surrounding Chadian population. MSF also continues to provide health care in the Adré, Iriba, Tiné and Guereda hospitals.
MSF has been working in Chad since 1981.