IOM Begins Transporting Chadian Refugees to Safety
Nearly 500 Chadian refugees who had fled to
border towns within Darfur since December last year, were yesterday
voluntarily transported to safety by IOM to a refugee camp further
At the request of and funded by UNHCR, IOM
will over the next month assist 5,000 out of a caseload of 10,000
Chadian refugees currently in border areas who are in need of
urgent relocation. The 5,000 will be moved from the border town of
Habila to a new and purpose-built camp at Um Shalaya, about 60kms
eastwards in West Darfur.
Since late 2005, Chadian refugees have been
arriving in border towns within Darfur seeking refuge from
increasing insecurity in Chad. UNHCR estimates there are at least
13,000 Chadian refugees in the border areas. Due to the inability
of host communities to cope with the arrivals and historical
tensions among newly arriving groups, many refugees are being
voluntarily relocated. As well as providing them greater security,
the relocation from the volatile border area where men are
increasingly being abducted by various rebel groups, will also
facilitate humanitarian support for the group.
The 494 refugees who were yesterday relocated
to Um Shalaya were medically screened and registered by IOM.
Between 1200-1500 refugees, their belongings and livestock will be
moved in 15 trucks and one bus and in the first week of the
operation, which should take a month to complete. Each relocation
is to be accompanied by an IOM operations and medical team and an
African Union (AU) escort.
Priority for those wanting to be relocated is
being given to those in poor nutritional health as various
international non-governmental organizations have recently
expressed concern over the nutritional status of several of the
latest refugee arrivals to the border areas.
Several organizations will provide support to
the refugees at Um Shalaya upon arrival, including WFP for food and
Medair for water, sanitation and health services. The Sudanese
Committee for Refugees (COR) will register and screen new
"There may be more people who need to be moved
than the 5,000 we've planned for. But for now, due to lack of
funding, we are working on this figure and expect to finish within
the month. This timescale depends, however, on the security
situation and the weather as the rainy season is about to begin,"
said Daniel Neysmith, in charge of IOM operations in West and South
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