Regional Humanitarian Update Feb 2008: Vol 2, Issue 2

from UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Published on 29 Feb 2008

Crisis in Chad-30,000 Refugees in Cameroon

Over 30,000 Chadians fled across the border into north-eastern Cameroon after fighting in N'Djamena between armed groups and the Government in early February. More than 4,600 families comprising some 20,000 persons have registered with UNHCR and indicated their intention to stay in Cameroon for the time being. The refugees began to arrive on 2 February and were initially hosted in two temporary sites as well as in schools, churches and private homes in Kousséri.

More than 5,520 Chadian refugees have now been transported to the "Maltam 1" camp, 32 km from Kousséri. The site in Maltam can host up to 100,000 people and is already equipped with wells. Upon arrival in Maltam 1, refugees received relief items from UNHCR including blankets, mats, jerry cans, cooking sets, soap and wood for heating. WFP gave rations including rice, sorghum, beans and cooking oil. UNFPA delivered products for female hygiene. Emergency assistance continues to be provided in Kousséri to those refugees not yet relocated to Maltam.

UNHCR provided two airlift flights with relief supplies including plastic sheeting, jerry cans, blankets, mosquito nets, kitchen sets and plastic rolls. WFP shipped to Kousséri 400 metric tons of food that was already in Cameroon, and 40 metric tons of high-protein biscuits were shipped from Ghana. UNICEF delivered ten cartons of Plumpy Nut therapeutic food used for severely malnourished children. UNFPA provided clean delivery kits, which include plastic sheeting, razor blades and soap, to ensure safe delivery to displaced mothers as well as support local health facilities to provide emergency obstetric care.

A five-day vaccination campaign was launched in Kousséri funded by the Ministry of Health, UNHCR, UNICEF, WHO, the Red Cross Movement, Médecins Sans Frontières- Switzerland and the Organization of Coordination for the Control of Endemic Diseases in Central Africa. The drive that began 13 February saw more than 35,000 infants and children vaccinated against Measles and Polio. Along with the vaccinations, vitamin A supplement tablets were also provided to some 34,000 children.

Funding gaps have so far been filled by a grant of USD 4.7 million from the United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) to six UN agencies involved in providing assistance. International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC) also released USD 272,000 from its Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) to support Cameroon Red Cross Society.

In addition, IFRC has launched an emergency appeal for USD 2.3 million to support the Cameroon Red Cross Society in assisting 10,000 refugees for the next six months. The money raised by the appeal will provide health services for refugees, including the deployment of a basic health care unit in Maltam and the provision of water and sanitation services to the refugees and host populations in Kousséri and in the Maltam 1 camp where 500 latrines will be built. Early recovery activities and transition support will be conducted for a further six months. According to IFRC, there are gaps in the sectors of health, water and sanitation but urgent action is being taken to prevent disease outbreaks.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs:
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