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‘1,500’ Sudan refugees transferred to Chad camp

May 1 - 2013 TISSI

Over 1,500 Sudanese nationals that sought refuge in Chad following inter-tribal conflicts in Central Darfur are currently being transferred to the Goz Amer camp in the east of the country, a sheikh said.

Last week UNHCR announced it was relocating 5,000 refugees from Tissi to Goz Amer –situated some 230 kilometers to the north- where the agency could “better provide them with protection and assistance".

A UNHCR representative in Chad added that a new camp able to house 25,000 people might be constructed at Sterena, 25 km north of Goz Beida, the largest town in the southeast of the country.

The sheikh of Goz Amer, Abdel Razek Abkar Ishaaq, told Radio Dabanga the camp received 300 people only on Tuesday, adding they are being provided tents upon their arrival.

He is urging organizations and the international community to provide the refugees tarps and doctors.

Ishaaq explained to Radio Dabanga that with the approaching rainy season, roads become impassable and this would likely hamper aid delivery and the transfer of refugees to camps in Chad.

The claim was also made by Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), which is providing support to refugees in Tissi:

“Humanitarian assistance is urgently needed before the looming rainy season cuts off road access to many areas”, the organization said last Friday, adding that “time is running out”.

At least 50,000 people had fled Sudan to Chad due to fighting between the tribes of Salamat and Misseriya that broke out in Umm Dukhun, Central Darfur. UNHCR called it the largest influx of people from Darfur to Chad since 2005.

MSF said the refugees in Tissi are “lacking food, water, shelter, and basic services”, noting the situation is “developing into a humanitarian crisis”.

“We arrived in Tissi in the first week of April to respond to a measles outbreak among the local population and refugees,” said Stefano Argenziano, head of mission for MSF.

He said it soon became clear that families had other urgent needs, considering they do not have access to health care, food, or clean water.

The health status of the refugees is likely to deteriorate rapidly, making them vulnerable to malaria, malnutrition, and epidemics, MSF said.

Tension erupted on 3 April in Umm Dukhun when a Misseriya tribesman allegedly tried looting and opening fire on a Salamat man, who was not hurt.

Violent hostilities broke out the next day when 4,000 men of both sides began battling each other. In the meantime, fighting has spread north and to South Darfur.

Radio Dabanga file photo

Related: UNHCR relocating Sudan refugees to ‘safer areas’ in Chad (23 April 2013)

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