Escalating needs of Sudanese refugees at Chad border


from RAJI BASHIR in Khartoum, Sudan
Sudan Bureau
KHARTOUM, (CAJ News) – IMMEDIATE action is needed as the humanitarian crisis in eastern Chad reaches a critical point.

The region houses thousands of individuals that have fled the war in neighbouring Sudan.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is calling for urgent international support with increasing numbers of refugees in border areas, rising health concerns, escalating security incidents and the impending rainy season.

Overcrowded and unsanitary conditions in Adre have led to a severe health crisis with over 1 200 cases of Hepatitis E reported, including three fatalities.

Since April 2023, the conflict in Sudan has forced over 600 000 refugees and 180 000 Chadian returnees, the vast majority of them women and children, to flee into Chad.

More than 115 000 have arrived since the start of 2024.

This influx shows no signs of abating, with an average of 630 people crossing the Adre border each day over the last month, said UNHCR representative in Chad, Laura Lo Castro.

“They are fleeing for their lives from a devastating war that is driving famine-like conditions in Sudan.”

UNHCR and partners have extended existing refugee settlements and established six new ones, as well as building two villages for Chadian returnees.

Today, one-third of the new arrivals remain in dire conditions at spontaneous sites along the border, with the town of Adre, originally home to 40 000 people, struggling to accommodate a sixfold increase in its population.

Security is also a growing concern, with increasing incidents of looting, vandalization of humanitarian structures and trafficking of drugs and alcohol.

A refugee girl was recently killed by a stray bullet. A series of fires set by disgruntled host community members destroyed 235 family shelters in sites hosting Chadian migrant returnees, displacing 1 500 families back to Adre.

UNHCR’s 2024 appeal for the response in eastern Chad is underfunded with 10 percent of the requested $2148 million received so far.

“The clock is ticking,” Lo Castro warned.

– CAJ News

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