Chad: Vital aid for displaced people

Faced with a growing human catastrophe in eastern Chad, the ICRC has begun distributing urgently needed food, seed and agricultural implements as well as essential shelter and other household items to some 67,000 displaced people in Dogdoré and the Dar Assoungha and Dar Sila areas bordering Sudan.

The operation aims to help displaced families plant crops before the imminent onset of the rainy season. Once the rains start, poor roads and the remoteness of the area will make access by humanitarian workers to the displaced people and their host communities virtually impossible.

A recent nutritional survey conducted by the ICRC shows a serious food shortage in the area caused by displacement of families and the resulting difficulties accessing farmland. "The purpose of this operation is to prevent the worst from happening", says Thomas Merkelbach, head of the ICRC delegation in Chad. "The lack of security due to inter ethnic strife, combined with the internal armed conflict over the past year and a half has made it impossible for people to store enough food, which is why we need to ensure their food needs are covered during the planting season."

The ICRC remains present in all conflict-affected areas of Chad and continues working mainly along the volatile border between Chad and the Darfur region of neighbouring Sudan, where several aid agencies have limited or suspended their operations owing to security concerns.

The ICRC has been operating in Chad for the past 29 years, in close cooperation with the Chadian Red Cross Society. It focuses on protecting and assisting people who have been displaced, detained or otherwise affected by the internal armed conflict and other forms of violence, or by the consequences of the situation in Darfur. Today the ICRC has 56 expatriates and 180 locally recruited staff working in various parts of the country.

For further information, please contact:

Inah Kaloga, ICRC N'Djamena, tel +235 6 520 316 or +235 6 20 10 05
Anna Schaaf, ICRC Geneva, tel +41 22 730 22 71 or +41 79 217 3217