YAOUNDE, CAMEROON — Leaders in Chad say the central African nation is struggling to meet the humanitarian needs of 2 million foreign and displaced people seeking refuge there, many of them women and children fleeing violence and increasing hardship in neighboring Sudan.
More than 400,000 Sudanese refugees and nearly 52,000 Chadian returnees have arrived in towns and villages in eastern Chad since April, when Sudan descended into violence, Chad’s President Mahamat Idriss Déby said in a state television broadcast this week.
He said Chad needs immediate assistance from the international community to help refugees and host communities that need protection and humanitarian aid, including food, shelter, water and sanitation.
Deby said that Chad residents in towns and villages along Chad’s border are fighting with refugees and displaced people over limited resources.
For example, he said, several thousand Sudanese refugees entered Adre, a town in the southeastern province of Ouaddai, just within the past two weeks. That brings the number of Sudanese in Adre to more than 210,000, which is four times more than the town’s population, according to the government.
Chad’s 2 million refugees come from several neighboring countries besides Sudan. They include people fleeing Boko Haram atrocities and violent conflicts between fishers and herders in Cameroon, Nigeria and Niger, as well as Central African Republic citizens who fled violence as fighting erupted in their country in 2013.
Chad, with a population about 18 million, is one of the world’s poorest countries. The nation has faced several institutional challenges in a region rife with conflict.
“I am urging my people, who I know live in poverty, to accept, receive and protect refugees and displaced persons who come to our country in deteriorating health situations caused by conflicts in neighboring states,” Deby said.
Humanitarian organizations, including the United Nations refugee agency, say the influx puts a massive strain on already-scarce resources and engenders conflicts between displaced persons, refugees and host communities.
Amina Abu said she arrived in Adre from Darfur, a city in western Sudan, this week.
Speaking on Chad state TV, Abu said she could not bear the shock when her husband was killed in Darfur two weeks ago, so she decided to move with her two children. She said the family has been hungry since they arrived in Chad with scores of other women and children.
The United Nations estimates that by the end of the year, 600,000 Sudanese refugees will have arrived in Chad.
Source : VOA News