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Chad Situation Report, 2 April 2020

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Situation Report
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HIGHLIGHTS

  • An estimated 20,000 people newly displaced by the latest wave of violence in the Lake Chad

  • Chad's Lac Province is home to nearly 170,000 internal displaced people, 47,000 returnees and 13,000 refugees

EMERGENCY RESPONSE

An estimated 20,000 people newly displaced by the latest wave of violence in the Lake Chad

President Idriss Déby Itno, speaking from an outpost of the Defense and Security Forces by Lake Chad, announced on 29 March the imminent launch of a large-scale military operation "Wrath of Boma", aiming to clear the province of non-state armed groups through a land, air and water offensive. The decision comes after an armed attack on a military garrison in Boma on 23 March which left 98 dead, including civilians, and 47 injured. Dozens of people are still missing.

After President Déby declared the Lac province departments of Fouli and Kaya “war zones” on 26 March, the Council of Ministers proclaimed the same day a state of emergency in these two departments, in effect from 27 March until 16 April 2020.

The declaration of the state of emergency gives power to the military and administrative authorities of the Lac province, under the supervision of the Minister of National Defense and Security, the Minister of Administration of the Territory, and the Minister of Justice to implement the measures foreseen by the state of emergency, including a curfew, movement restrictions, weapon requisitions, house searches, arrests and provisional detentions. The Head of State said that he is determined to break the non-state armed group behind the attack by inflicting upon them an "unprecedented thrashing”.

Since the government declared the two departments "war zones", traditional leaders and administrative authorities have encouraged villagers to move further inland. According to the prefect of Fouli, 20,000 people have already fled the military operation areas, and are currently displaced in and around Diameron. The prefect has called on the humanitarian community to provide urgent assistance to these people who are currently facing an alarming humanitarian situation, particularly in terms of drinking water, food, healthcare and shelter needs.

Additional displacements could occur spontaneously in the coming days and are likely to have a severe impact on a province which is already hosting 169,000 internally displaced persons, 13,000 refugees and 47,000 Chadian returnees, and where humanitarian activities have already been restricted due to the COVID-19 pandemic, including movement restrictions between the capital and the provinces. Telecommunications service interruptions have been reported in many areas of the Lac province, including Bol, Liwa, Daboua, Kiskawa, Kaiga Kindjiria, Kiskra, Ngouboua, Tchoukoutalia, Koulfoua and the islands. The service disruption makes communication and information sharing very difficult, posing another challenge to the response coordination.

Humanitarian actors in the field are actively working with partners in the Lake through cluster coordination mechanisms, conducting rapid needs assessments, while working on the reprogramming of certain projects including adaptation measures. It is feared that the state of emergency measures will have implications on operations of the United Nations and humanitarian actors, particularly on access. Humanitarian partners of the Lac province are working tirelessly with the operational focal points and the local authorities of the Liwa department in order to plan and coordinate the humanitarian response to this new phase of the crisis.

During the inter-cluster coordination meeting of 31 March, recommendations were made to the Humanitarian Country Team, namely the strengthening of sub-clusters through the deployment of personnel to the Lac province, for the response to this and other emergencies that may arise in addition to the COVID-19 pandemic.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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