SUDAN: The Red Cross has warned that the arrival of the rainy season in the coming weeks could cause a “major humanitarian disaster” for the tens of thousands of Sudanese refugees, many of whom are children, who have crossed the border into Chad due to conflict between two opposing generals.
As a result of weeks of violence between two opposing generals, approximately 80,000 people have sought refuge in the country to the west of Sudan.
Refugees are arriving quickly, making it difficult to relocate them before the rains arrive in late June. Pierre Kremer of the IFRC said they wouldn’t be able to relocate all of them before the rainy season.
Ali Salam, a Chadian-American working for the Sudanese American Physicians Association (Sapa), described the refugee camp at Koufroun, north of Adré, as having “heartbreaking” conditions. To relocate as many as possible, it is a race.
Salam, a member of a Sapa team that visited the camps over the weekend, was astounded by the paucity of basic help provided to refugees, especially those who arrived quickly after fighting broke out on April 15.
The rainy season is causing people to sleep under trees, seek shade from the sun, or receive plastic sheets to sleep on. A few tents and shelters are needed to protect them from the rain.
Kremer visited a 30,000-person tent camp outside Borota, 45 miles southwest of Adré, and reported snake and scorpion bites among the refugees. This raises the possibility of an increase in diseases like malaria.
Women and children make up 80% of those arriving in Chad, with teens often travelling alone with young children. Eujin Byun, a UNHCR representative, expressed her shock upon seeing them, noting that many of the youngsters don’t know where their parents are.
The UNHCR proposes to create five new refugee camps and relocate migrants from border regions to one of Chad’s 13 existing ones. The largest refugee population in central Africa, including 400,000 from Sudan, was already living in Chad before the crisis.
$160 million is needed to feed existing refugees and new arrivals over the next six months.
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