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Crisis in Chad
MSF activity update in N'Djamena, Cameroon and eastern Chad
February 15, 2008
While many people have already returned to N’Djamena, further aid is reaching the thousands of refugees that still remain in the border town of Kousseri, in Cameroon. This week, MSF carried out a measles vaccination campaign and distributed relief items to thousands of people at two sites. MSF continues to offer free medical care to refugees and two surgical teams are still working in Kousseri and N’Djamena.
Many people that had fled the fighting have already returned to N’Djamena. Yet, thousands still do not dare return and remain in the border town of Kousseri. Some of them have found shelter, but many others have been living out in the open for more than ten days now. As no official registration has been performed so far and refugees are mixed with the host population, it is still very difficult to give an exact figure of refugees.
On Wednesday, February 13th, MSF carried out a measles vaccination campaign for the refugees and the host population at a site called Madana. In total, more than 5,600 children have been vaccinated. More than 3,600 families in Madana and another site in town have received relief items such as blankets, plastic sheeting, jerry cans, soap and mosquito nets. The team has also installed several water distribution points at the refugee sites and in Maltam, a camp about 20 miles away from Kousseri, where UNHCR plans to start moving refugees this weekend.
MSF continues to offer free medical care in three clinics in town and in the outpatient department of Kousseri central hospital. An average of 400 consultations are performed everu day at these structures. At the central hospital, a MSF surgical team is operating.
Since the beginning of the week, the situation in N’Djamena has been normalizing quickly. People are back at work, shops are reopening, traffic in the streets is normal and the cell phone network works again. However, the situation remains tense and people still do not venture into the street at night.
Since the beginning of the crisis, more than 120 wounded have been treated by MSF in Bon Samaritain hospital. Today, 20 patients are still hospitalized in the surgical ward run by MSF.
In the rest of the city, most health structures have resumed activity. MSF has made a donation of drugs and medical material to the general hospital, the main structure of the city, and a stock has been left in case a new crisis arises.
MSF has also helped reopen the Hôpital de l’Union, in Chagoua, and will continue to support the structure with staff and drugs in upcoming weeks. Approximately 300 free consultations have been carried out every day since the hospital reopened on Monday.
Situation in Eastern Chad
While some MSF’s activities in eastern Chad were reduced in the last week due to the unpredictable situation, they are now slowly returning to normal. We continue to provide primary and secondary health care, psychosocial care, water and sanitation to Sudanese refugees and to Chadians, either displaced or residents in Abeche, Adre, Farchana, Goz Beida, Dogdoré, Guereda, Iriba and Am Timan.
In the region of Birak, on the border with Sudan, a new wave of at least 7,000 refugees have arrived from Darfur over the last week after a large military offensive in their region. MSF is assisting the refugees, providing medical care, clean water and relief items. At the same time, a team is trying to access the people that remain in the targeted areas in Darfur.
MSF currently has 20 expatriates working in N’Djamena and another 20 expatriates are, along with national staff, assisting refugees in Cameroon.