UNHCR activities for Sudanese refugees
- In eastern Chad, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), at the request of and in cooperation with the Chadian Government, assists nearly 250,000 Sudanese refugees from the Darfur region, hosted in twelve refugee camps. The United Nations refugee agency established its presence in eastern Chad in 2003, and operates today a head office in N'Djamena, a sub-office in Abéché, and six field offices in Bahaï, Farchana, Goz Beïda, Guereda, Iriba, Koukou, as well as one antenna office in Amleyouna, employing a total of approximately 50 international and 200 national staff. The agency has agreements with 40 implementing partners for its refugee and IDP programmes.
- The response programme of UNHCR for refugees is based on the principle of ensuring their safety and dignity, thereby comprising four main pillars: protection; socio-economic well-being; self-reliance through income generation and development of skills; and promotion of community-based approaches for coexistence with the host communities.
- Given the extremely volatile security situation in the east, which already led to the temporary relocation of staff on several occasions, the Sudanese refugee programme is carried out under very difficult conditions. Severe logistical constraints add to the agency's challenges.
- The latest major refugee inflow occurred during the month of February 2008, when several areas of West Darfur were heavily affected by armed conflict. Over 13,000 individuals fled to Chad's eastern village of Birak and its surrounding areas, approximately 60 km east of the town of Guereda.
- During March, UNHCR has transferred 5,357 of these newly arrived refugees from Birak to the Kounoungou refugee camp, and approximately 200 of them to the Mile refugee camp. Upon arrival, refugees had been provided with shelter and non-food items (NFIs), including mats, blankets, jerry cans, kitchen sets, anti-mosquito nets, and personal hygiene items. Both refugee camps were equipped with additional water and sanitation facilities to accommodate the new arrivals. Since their arrival in the camps, refugees have had access to all the assistance and protection programmes implemented by UNHCR's partners.
- Those refugees who chose to stay near the border continue receiving protection and assistance, and will be re-offered relocation to the Mile refugee camp after the rainy season. Protection monitoring missions also aim to follow up on special needs for vulnerable individuals, including separated children.
- Meanwhile, the newly arrived refugees as well as the local population in Birak profit from community-based projects, including newly installed water points. Such projects also assist Chadian communities, who received the refugees generously, and shared with them whatever scarce resources they had.
Specific protection programmes
- Through active collaboration with local and national authorities (including traditional authorities), host communities, and the refugees themselves, UNHCR and its partners are regularly carrying out capacity building for the Chadian judiciary, with a view to enhancing rule of law, traditional and modern justice systems, and helping build strong foundations for protection activities that can be delivered by national authorities. Mobile legal clinics have been established in refugee camps in order to promote human rights, and to provide legal advice and support.
- Awareness sessions on how to prevent and respond to sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV), as well as awareness campaigns on the prevention of HIV/AIDS, are conducted by UNHCR together with national authorities, and refugee committees comprising sheiks, women, youth, teachers/parents associations, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs).
- Child protection activities, being central to UNHCR's work, aim to safeguard refugee children from harm. They include awareness and training sessions to raise awareness on ethnically sensitive issues, including domestic violence against children, child labour, early and forced marriages, female genital mutilation (FGM), and recruitment of children. Psycho-social support for traumatised and disabled children is being provided in some refugee camps through UNHCR's implementing partners.
- In order to improve the status of women, UNHCR has established several community centres in each refugee camp, in order to encourage women groups towards empowerment, carry out literacy programmes and skills development, and provide them with protected spaces where they can carry out activities of their choice.
- All refugee protection programmes are based on the agency's guidelines on Age, Gender and Diversity Mainstreaming (AGDM).
Access to health care
- All refugees have access to primary health care within the camps. Mortality is within normal levels, and disease control has significantly improved.
- The UNHCR has established pre-school nurseries (for children aged three to five years) in all of eastern Chad's refugee camps, with an average attendance rate of 92% for boys and 83% for girls.
- A total of 80 camp-based primary schools are operational in the refugee camps. An average of 80% of boys and 39% of girls are enrolled.
- The UNHCR is providing monetary incentives to 985 voluntary refugee teachers, and providing them with school materials. On average, one teacher is looking after over 60 children per class.
- Due to funding shortages, secondary education is offered in only three refugee camps. In October 2008, several pilot projects including distance learning are due to also start in this domain.
- Literacy programmes for adults are offered in all twelve refugee camps.
- The mainly arid lands of eastern Chad pose significant environmental challenges for the refugee programme, as firewood and water are extremely scarce. Together with local authorities, UNHCR can provide only limited collection of dead wood in approved sites, and has engaged local contractors to collect and supply it to the camps.
- Energy-efficient 'Save80' cookers as well as Solar cookers have been distributed to one third of all refugee households, thereby reducing the use of firewood.
- A total of 470,000 saplings (for fruit and shade trees) have been planted during the past 1.5 years, and reforestation projects around refugee camps are ongoing.
Water and Sanitation programmes
- Refugees are being encouraged to construct their own family latrines, in order to improve the average ratio of 30 persons per latrine in the camps.
- An average of 12 litres of water per person per day is distributed to the refugee community.
- In 2008, one of UNHCR's priorities is to fine-tune and improve existing water programmes and to find new solutions for water supply on the longer term.
UNHCR activities for Central African refugees
- There are currently approximately 57,000 refugees from the Central African Republic (CAR) in Chad, the vast majority of them being located in five camps in the country's south.
- The UNHCR has a field presence in the towns of Danamadji and Goré.
- The latest influx of CAR refugees into Chad occurred between December 2007 and February 2008, after CAR armed opposition groups attacked villages in northern CAR. It involved approximately 10,000 new arrivals. In May 2008, UNHCR opened its most recent and fifth refugee camp, Moula, near the town of Maro, to accommodate the new arrivals.
- While overall protection programmes are the same as in the east, conditions in the affected areas are more conducive to self-reliance activities. The UNHCR, in concert with its donors and partners, is working to link humanitarian relief to development, for the benefit of the local communities as well as the refugees. Refugees have access to farming, for example, which promotes their food self-sufficiency. Agricultural, vocational, and micro-credit initiatives are in place, in order to help preserve the dignity of refugees in the area. Projects include health clinics catering for refugees as well as for the host communities, the promotion of local markets, and capacity building and support programmes for local governance mechanisms.
Non-UNHCR activities for Sudanese and Central African refugees
- The objectives of the United Nations Children Funds (UNICEF)'s activities for refugees in the education sector are to support the upgrading of capacities for teachers and Parent-Teacher Associations, as well as the improvement of classroom infrastructures and the availability of school material and textbooks.
- The distribution of school supplies for the new school year (2008/2009), provided by UNICEF, is now underway. It will benefit over 62,000 children in the twelve refugee camps of eastern Chad and among surrounding host communities
- As lead agency in the education sector, UNICEF works to ensure that technical standards are respected in these regards. All activities are implemented under the overall umbrella of the Chadian Ministry of Education.
- The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) continues to assist over 240,000 Sudanese refugees in eastern Chad through monthly general food distributions.
- In the south, general food rations continue to be provided to approximately 41,000 refugees from the Central African Republic (CAR) located in Moula (Maro area) and the Amboko, Dosseye, and Gondjé camps (Goré area). To the 16,000 CAR refugees who have attained a relatively good level of self-reliance in the Yaroungou refugee camp, WFP provides support through seed protection rations during the lean season (April to July), as well as selective feeding programmes for vulnerable groups.
- In early October, WFP completed distributions of 30-day food rations to over 241,000 Sudanese refugees in all 12 refugee camps in eastern Chad. In the south, distributions are currently ongoing in the Dosseye and Gondjé refugee camps and will continue in the Amboko and Moula camps.
- The WFP also continues to provide monthly food rations to approximately 900 families affected and/or infected by HIV/AIDS in Moundou (southern Chad). These activities target approximately 12,000 people affected and/or infected by HIV/AIDS among CAR refugees and the local populations in southern Chad. This assistance aims to improve the nutritional status of HIV patients receiving anti-retroviral treatment (ART).
- The UNICEF is working to ensure access to quality health care for mothers and children, through health centers which are managed by its NGO partners in refugee camps. Supported activities include the vaccination of children aged less than one year against all common childhood diseases, the supplementation of all refugee children under five years of age with Vitamin A and deworming drugs, the pre-natal and post-natal care for pregnant and post-partum women, the distribution of impregnated anti-mosquito nets, medication, and blankets and the training of local health staff. Throughout eastern Chad, UNICEF is implementing the Accelerated Strategy for Child Survival and Development (ASCS).
- Epidemic surveillance has shown an increase in cases of hepatitis E in the refugee camps of Bredjing and Treguine during the months of August and September 2008. Cases have however decreased since then. In the two camps, a total of 261 cases, leading to one known death, have been recorder so far this year.
- In order to improve the quality of life of the refugees and host populations, the United Nations Populations Fund (UNFPA) regularly supplies medical NGOs with reproductive heath kits and other reproductive health commodities including female and male condoms, material for blood safety, clean delivery kits, equipment for management of complications related to pregnancy and delivery.
- During August, more than 100 medical staff have been trained in the domain of Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI), universal precautions against HIV, and family planning,
- UNFPA conducted in the Am Nabak. Gaga, Iridimi, Treguine, and Touloum camps rapid assessments of the reproductive health situation, encompassing availability, accessibility, and utilisation of the services. In order to provide a holistic response to the gaps identified, reproductive health micro-plans have been developed in the Gaga and Treguine camps. The same activities in other camps will follow.
- The UNFPA has recently supported the Ministry of Health and the NGO International Medical Corps (IMC) for the integration of prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV (PMTCT) in the reproductive health services in Gaga camp, with an acceptance rate of more than 80 %.
- To increase service delivery quality, UNFPA has supported the development and/or adaptation of guidelines, protocols and tools for reproductive health in crisis situations. The supervision tools were also produced and a supervision system was put in place.
- The UNFPA supported the evaluation of reproductive health in crisis situation in Chad. Data analysis in this domain is ongoing.
- The UNICEF is providing therapeutic foods, anthropometric equipment, drugs and micronutrients to therapeutic feeding centers in refugee camps and IDP sites. In addition, technical support and training of health agents and NGO staff are ensured. Over 10,000 malnourished children under five years old have been treated for severe acute malnutrition during 2007.
- During the first semester of 2008, over 2,200 moderately malnourished and 680 severely malnourished children have been assisted in supplementary and therapeutic feeding centres (SFCs/TFCs) supported by UNICEF, in nine refugee camps. Recovery rates were 86%, with the rate of death or dropout being under 1%.
- In collaboration with its implementing partners, UNICEF has established child-friendly spaces in all refugee camps, in order to provide psychosocial support to traumatised children, in a protected location where they can prosper thanks to the promotion of protection and the reestablishment of a sense of normality in their lives.
- A total of 65 child-wellbeing committees, 15 women committees, and 12 youth committees, have been established as of the present time, and a protection network has been created in order to link those committees with the humanitarian community. A total of 2,500 community workers, refugee leaders, teachers and police staff working in the camps, participated in 83 trainings on child protection, with specific focus on domestic violence, sexual and economic exploitation of children, child abuse, and gender based violence.
- Child recruitment by belligerent parties is an increasingly serious concern, especially in refugee camps in Chad's north-east. Enhanced advocacy at political level against the recruitment of children, an act that is qualified by the United Nations as one of the six worst child rights violations, is underway. Within the United Nations Country Team, a task force has been established under UNICEF's leadership in order to monitor the situation of children affected by armed conflict, within the context of United Nations Security Council resolution 1612. The UNICEF and its partners have established a mechanism in order to ensure the timely exchange of information in this domain, among all actors who work in the protection sector.
- Awareness campaigns on the dangers posed by mines and unexploded ordnance (UXO) have been conducted in refugee camps by the Office of the National High Commissioner for the destruction of unexploded ordnances (HCND), with the support of UNICEF. Awareness campaign toolboxes have been provided by UNICEF to UNHCR, for increased awareness activities in the upcoming months
Gender-Based Violence (GBV)
- All refugee camps, both in eastern and southern Chad, have also been provided with HIV post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) kits, and kits for basic management of rape survivors.
- The UNFPA, with the Ministry of Health, conducted training for 26 medical staff, covering four refuges camps in southern Chad, and 78 other staff for the camps of eastern Chad, on the clinical management of rape survivors.
- The UNFPA also supported the establishment of the GBV community groups and awareness campaigns for the prevention and management of GBV in several camps: Am Nabak, Gaga, Iridimi, Oure Cassoni, Touloum, and Treguine.
- Together with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), UNFPA conducted a survey on female genital mutilation (FGM) and HIV/AIDS. According to the preliminary results, 20 to 30 % of refugees totally ignore the existence of HIV, while 70% of the refugees who know HIV/AIDS heard about HIV after their arrival in the camps. More than 82% of women recognised having been excised, while 13 % of perpetrators of excision are men.
Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene
- In the Oure Cassoni refugee camp, located in north-eastern Chad, where UNICEF continues to ensure a response to the overall water and sanitation needs of the population, UNICEF's main objective for 2008 is to provide safe water access throughout the year to 30,000 refugees, in a way that meets Sphere Project standards.
- Field assessments conducted by the World Health Organization of the United Nations (WHO) have shown a deterioration of hygienic conditions in the two sites, including the near-total absence of family latrines and the contamination of drinking water. In this regard, the recent return of IFRC, who will work on water and sanitation activities, is a positive development.
Non-refugees and related humanitarian action
Overview on internal displacement
- There are currently approximately 185,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Chad, the vast majority of them living in the east. The IDP crisis started in December 2005, and worsened in the last quarter of 2006 due to deterioration in the security environment.
- The United Nations and NGOs working in Chad, and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), as well as NGOs, work with the Chadian Government, in order to provide vital assistance to 5 IDPs in a timely manner. The United Nations has furthermore conducted IDP profiling activities, in order to identify the areas of origin of all IDPs, with a view to organizing return operations once it is possible to do so.
- Waves of spontaneous returns have been observed in several parts of eastern Chad during 2008, and humanitarian actors plan to conduct surveys in order to collect quantitative data that can allow an assessment of needs and the planning of appropriate responses. The essential and challenging task for humanitarian actors, in close cooperation with the Government, is to create conditions for sustainable returns. For this purpose, a framework for sustainable voluntary returns has been adopted in May 2008.
Common Services, Coordination, and Funding
Consolidated Appeals Process (CAP)
- As of 22 October, the 2008 Consolidated Appeal for Chad, within the context of the CAP, is funded at 71%. The Appeal currently requests $ 315 million, for 90 humanitarian projects proposed by 17 NGOs and nine United Nations entities. Some sectors are well funded, such as food aid at 91%, and multi-sector activities for IDPs and refugees at 69%. Some are poorly funded, such as education at 14%, while the mine action sector, and the economic recovery and infrastructure sector, have not yet received any funding.
- Contributors to this year's appeal include Canada, Denmark, the European Commission, France, Finland, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Switzerland, Sweden, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America. The Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) has also contributed $ 9.2 million to CAP projects.
- Humanitarian actors in Chad have met from 03 to 04 September in the Chadian capital N'Djamena, in order to predict humanitarian needs and the requirements for the response for 2009, with the aim of presenting to donors and to the public a new Consolidated Appeal for next year. The ICRC has its own independent funding system and is therefore not included in the CAP.
Transport and logistics
- From 01 January to 30 September 2008, the United Nations Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS) transported a total of 26,347 passengers and approximately 104.3 metric tonnes (MT) of humanitarian supplies, for over 70 humanitarian organizations working in Chad. The service currently reaches N'Djamena and nine locations in eastern Chad, as well as Moundou and Sarh in the south, and the Cameroonian capital Yaoundé. The UNHAS is currently supporting its sister operation in Niamey, by coordinating fortnightly flights between Niamey and N'Djamena, operated by UNHAS Niger.
Increased school attendance rates among local population and IDPs
- For the first time since the beginning of the current humanitarian crisis, IDP children have completed a full school year programme, through joint efforts of UNICEF in support of the Ministry of Education, together with its implementing partners Jesuit Refugee Services (JRS) and Premiere Urgence (PU), in the departments of Assoungha, Dar Sila, and Ouara. The same, however, has not happened in other parts of eastern Chad.
- The number of school-age children among IDPs in eastern Chad is estimated at over 50,000, being approximately 30% of the total IDP population. The vast majority of these children has not yet been enrolled in school, or has not completed their school year, and needs to be provided with an opportunity to continue their education.
- The six main barriers to education that UNICEF and its partners have to address in eastern Chad are:
- Precarious environment for teaching and learning: a generalized shortage of school equipment (an average of five pupils per desk) and school manuals (an average of less than one manual per pupil), as well as other didactic materials, is widespread in this part of the country;
- Insufficient number of teachers, resulting in a ratio of 70 to 150 pupils per teacher;
- High proportion of community teachers without professional qualifications;
- Poor sanitary conditions (i.e. lack of [separated] latrines) constitute, in many schools, a powerful constraint, especially for girls who have reached the age of puberty;
- Need for children to work in order to help supporting their families;
- Gender discrimination, which results in a host of factors (early marriage and pregnancy, forced marriage, female genital mutilation, domestic work, child labour), which bars girls from enrolling into and completing school.
- Under the leadership of UNICEF and through the employment of local labour, the construction of over 120 classrooms has been completed in IDP sites since the beginning of 2006. The building of additional classrooms continues all over eastern Chad.
- The distribution of school supplies for the new school year (2008/2009), provided by UNICEF, is now underway. It will benefit over 15,000 children in ten IDP sites and approximately 10,000 children from surrounding host communities in the departments of Assoungha, Dar Sila, and Ouara. Each establishment will receive equipment and furniture such as blackboards, plastic mats, desks and chairs for teachers, as well as teaching and learning materials including "school in a box" and recreation kits.
- The UNICEF's major tasks as lead agency of the education sector are the assessment of conditions in IDP sites and surrounding communities, and the promotion of common standards for humanitarian assistance in the sector. The aim is also to facilitate information knowledge, to understand educational needs, and to promote a common work plan for all stakeholders.
Food Security and Livelihoods
- The WFP approved the implementation of a new phase of the Emergency Operation (EMOP) assisting 250,000 Sudanese refugees, 188,000 Chadian IDPs, and 150,000 members of the host populations. A total of 148,000 MT of food commodities will be committed for a period of 24 months (01 January 2009 to 31 December 2010), with the total project cost amounting to US$ 236 million.
Food assistance to internally displaced persons (IDPs)
- A WFP-led emergency food security assessment is currently ongoing in eastern Chad. The operation targets 12 Sudanese refugee camps, IDP sites, and villages to where IDPs are returning or may return. Main participants besides WFP include the Chadian Ministry of Agriculture, the Office of the United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator, UNHCR, ICRC, and NGO partners. The findings will determine the level of food assistance to be provided during 2009.
- In mid-July, over 200,000 IDPs have been provided with seed protection rations for 60 days. This aimed to support their self-reliance.
Food assistance to host communities
- Between January and July 2008, WFP distributed approximately 110 MT of food commodities through the implementation of food-for-work (FFW) and food-for-training (FFT) activities. The assistance targeted approximately 12,000 beneficiaries among the local populations in the areas where Sudanese refugees and IDPs are located, especially in the departments of Assoungha, Biltine, Dar Sila, Dar Tama, Djourf-Al-Amar, Ennedi, Kobe, and Ouara.
- FFW programmes are designed to help beneficiaries manage their productive assets in a sustainable manner, thereby supporting their incomes on the long term, as well as the local economies of the areas concerned.
Food assistance to schoolchildren
- Over 125,000 schoolchildren were assisted so far during 2008, through the provision of 2,622 MT of food aid. The WFP distributed hot rations as well as dry take-home rations.
- The WFP's assistance targets primary schools in the rural areas of Batha, Kanem, and Ouaddaï, and in the Guéra and Wadi Fira regions, where school enrolment and performance levels are below the national average. The objective is to promote basic education and increase literacy rates. Particular attention is being given to girls in grades 5 and 6, by providing them with take-home family rations, as an incentive for parents to send their daughters to school and attend classes on a regular basis.
- In the east, WFP is also implementing emergency school feeding for 30,000 IDP children. Most of these children have dropped out of school since 2006, because of insecurity in eastern Chad. Due to poor security conditions and limited capacity of cooperating partners, only 8,300 schoolchildren, out of a planned figure of 30,000, were assisted, through the provision of 172 MT during the school year 2007/2008. An additional 48,551 schoolchildren were also assisted through the provision of 752 MT of food aid in eastern Chad.
- Discussions are currently ongoing between WFP and NGO partners for the resumption of 2008/2009 school feed
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.