What displaced and refugees face in Chad

© MSF

The Chadian authorities and the aid system have left these people on the scrap heap with no protection and no assistance. Few humanitarian organizations are bringing them assistance. As people have fled their homes and cannot go back to harvest, the two main concerns in both the short- an mid-term, are food security and access to water.

 

Despite the difficult security conditions, MSF is strengthening its aid program throughout eastern Chad on behalf of refugees, residents and displaced persons.

Context

Since 2003, nearly 200,000 Sudanese have taken refuge in eastern Chad, near the border with Sudan. They have been housed in refugee camps for three years. However, since the end of last year, this region has also been the site of confrontations among the government army and various rebel groups hostile to Chad's President Idriss Deby. The rebels are using Sudan as a staging ground.

This violent conflict is increasing in intensity throughout the far eastern region of the country and many people - primarily military - have been wounded. In addition, attacks are targeting Chad's civilian populations directly, particularly in the Ouaddaï region. They are of varied intensity and breadth and range from the theft of cattle to setting villages on fire and killing the populations.

Most of the displaced we have been talking to describe their assailants as "Janjaweed" (literally, "thieves on horseback") or "Arab nomads". In fact, this term encompasses a wide range of armed actors, including rebels, bandits, militias, etc. These various actors lean on different ethnic groups at a time of strained relationships between nomads and sedentary populations who are fighting over access to land, water and agricultural resources.

About 50,000 people have fled from their homes to the surrounding area. They are accommodated by relatives or set up in one of the many sites of makeshift huts found in the surroundings of villages where it is thought to be more secured. There are no precise figures, but we also know that a few thousand have fled in Darfur (2,000 arrived in Habila in November after the attack of Koloye).

The Chadian authorities and the aid system have left these people on the scrap heap with no protection and no assistance. Few humanitarian organizations are bringing them assistance. As people have fled their homes and cannot go back to harvest, the two main concerns in both the short- an mid-term, are food security and access to water.

MSF and the displaced

MSF has been working with the displaced since the beginning of 2006 and has medical activities in Dogdoré, Adé, Kerfi, Tcharo and Habilé. A program in Koloye had to be evacuated because of insecurity at the end of October. In mid November, Koloye and its surroundings was attacked and the MSF base looted. The residents and the displaced (5,000) have been forced to move, some to Adé where MSF is active.

In Dogdoré (30km from the Sudanese frontier), free care and emergency medical treatment are available from a health center, mobile medical visits and a hospitalization unit. In addition, 180,000 liters of water are provided daily thanks to a pumping and water treatment station.

In Adé, a mobile team provides medical care and distributes essential supplies to the displaced persons.

In Kerfi, Tcharo and Habilé (near Goz Beida), a mobile team offers medical care.

With nearly 80 international volunteers and 1,000 Chadians, MSF is working with all populations in this complex situation. Teams continue to provide assistance to; refugees from Darfur in the camps (Farchana and Bredjing between Adré and Abéché, Touloum and Iridimi, near Iriba, further north); resident and refugee populations in the Adré, Iriba, Tiné and Guereda hospitals; and to displaced Chadians in the Dar Sila in Dogdoré, Adé, Kerfi, Tcharo and Habilé.