Chad: Photo gallery of Sudanese refugees, Sept 2003
After fighting between government troops and rebels in the province of Darfur in western Sudan near the Chad border, thousands of people have been fleeing over the border to seek refuge in Chad. Many of them, mainly women and children, are currently in the small towns of Tine and Birak, eastern Chad.
"In Tine, we found 5,000 to 6,000 people who are living crowded at the limits of the town and they are becoming more every day", reports MSF nurse Virginie Cauderlier who visited the place last week during an exploratory mission in the region.
"Tine is in the desert and during the day the temperature rises up to 45 degrees while at nights it becomes quite chilly. The people are exposed to both extremes with no or nearly no shelter at all. People are forced to drink water from the river that can easily be polluted and cause diseases. The danger of epidemics is therefore high. Especially because vaccination coverage is, like, zero."
Also in the more isolated town of Birak, south of Tine, the team found thousands of Sudanese people who have fled over the border. Virginie Cauderlier: "The situation is similar as in Tine. On the little market you cannot even find a single aspirin. When somebody falls sick with malaria, respiratory infections or any other disease there is no help at all."
To provide access to medical help in this acute crisis, MSF sent on Tuesday a team of mainly doctors, nurses and logisticians who will build up health centres in both towns, Tine and Birak.