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Fire, hospital fees affect Darfuri refugees

February 28 - 2016 EASTERN CHAD CAMPS
Women chopping wood at a firewood distribution location in Farchana refugee camp, eastern Chad (Refugees International)
Women chopping wood at a firewood distribution location in Farchana refugee camp, eastern Chad (Refugees International)

Donors from the USA have visited one of the refugee camps in eastern Chad, where Sudanese refugees report they have to pay a fee in the health centre to receive treatment.

A large fire in another camp in eastern Chad has destroyed 30 homes, including food and belongings of the camp residents on Friday. A Radio Dabanga correspondent Dabanga reported that the now homeless refugees in Goz Amer camp have little food and no shelter. They asked the humanitarian organisations that are active in the area to help them.

Hospitals fees

Sudanese refugees in Jebel camp have complained about the fees for hospital patients that have been imposed by the Chadian authorities, in addition to the soaring prices of medicines in pharmacies.

The same correspondent said that the fee amounts to 40 Chadian Riyals, the equivalent of SDG5, on patients in health centres. "The centre runs short of medicines, prompting patients to buy drugs from pharmacies in Goz Beida, which is two kilometres away from Jebel. The majority of refugees cannot afford these medicines, however."

US visit

A delegation of donors from the USA visited Jebel camp to assess the humanitarian situation last week. "The Sudanese refugees explained to the delegates that the humanitarian situation in the camp is disastrous because the agricultural season largely failed last year," the correspondent explained. They complained that the World Food Programme om the camp has classified the refugees into four categories for receiving aid. "This classification has kept the majority of refugees out from the monthly support."

The refugees requested the reconsideration of the classification and the provision of more food in the camp. In the past, refugees have complained about the late or suspended distribution of food by aid agencies. According to the UNHCR in 2015, more than 360,000 Sudanese live in at least 12 refugee camps in eastern Chad.

A week ago, an Independent Member of Parliament of Karnoi, Um Baru and El Tina localities, in North Darfur, reported the unprecedented large influx of more than 27,000 Darfuri refugees from Chad to Um Baru since 16 February. About 24,000 Sudanese already returned in December last year, mainly because of the Chadian government ultimatum for Sudanese refugees to either integrate into the camps or to return to Sudan.

Aid agencies’ food ration cuts have affected daily life in the eastern Chadian camps and services are limited. Measures by the Chadian government push the refugees to become more self-sufficient, integrate in Chad, or return to Darfur.


Sudan's refugees unable to travel in Chad without permits (20 November 2015)

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