Blankets and medicines for thousands of refugees in Chad
20 December 2002
MSF is sending a nurse and logistician to Sido, Chad, located on the border with the Central African Republic (CAR). An exploratory mission concluded that more assistance is needed to care for the thousands of refugees that fled CAR due to the ongoing fighting in their homeland. Over the past week MSF and the Chad Ministry of Health have already carried out measles vaccinations, distributed blankets and conducted medical consultations for 1,500 displaced people and refugees that arrived in Sido. "The refugee group included 600 non-vaccinated children," explained Donatella Masai, operational coordinator for MSF in Brussels. "Therefore our team decided to carry out measles vaccinations. They also vaccinated the children of the local population since many of the refugees are hosted by the locals. We donated drugs and distributed blankets as well." Over the past days another 2,700 people arrived. MSF conducted an exploratory mission to assess their medical and non-medical needs in terms of shelter, water, hygiene, nutrition, vaccination and access to health care. The team members have concluded that the new arrivals are in good shape and have many of their belongings with them. They can rely on a strong sense of solidarity within the local population. "Thus far the group of refugees receives a lot of support from the village community," said Donatella Masai. "They work on the fields for board and lodging. This solidarity might not last though, since the local population is very poor and their coping mechanisms can’t last forever. Water and sanitation structures are already poor. Therefore we have to monitor the situation very closely and start relief activities when needed." There is already a health centre with weekly consultations in place but MSF wants to increase the number of medical consultations by sending a nurse. A logistician will be sent as well to improve water and sanitation issues by building more wells and latrines. In the near future the construction of a refugee camp might be necessary since the number of refugees is still rising.