Place of the operation: CHAD
Amount of the decision: EUR 12,000,000
Number of reference of the decision: ECHO/TCD/BUD/2005/01000
1 - justification, needs and target population:
1.1. - Justification:
At the beginning of 2003, a major political and humanitarian crisis started in the Sudanese region of Darfour in western Sudan, all the while when Sudan had started a decisive phase in the negotiations aiming at regulating another internal conflict opposing the North and the South of the country.
The Darfour region has long been affected by local tribal conflicts exacerbated by the competition between nomadic farmers and stock breeders, related to scarce natural resources in an environment on a bring of desertification. In addition, the socio-economic marginalisation of the region, resulting from a continued and deliberate policy followed by successive Sudanese governments, constituted a destabilising factor.
Since the beginning of 2003, the security in the area has strongly deteriorated and the situation transformed into open war with the emergence of rebellious groups, mainly of the Zaghawa, Fur and Massalit ethnic origin, opposed to the Sudanese government supported by Arab militias called Janjaweed.
The political and humanitarian situation in Darfour has continued to deteriorate, causing the internal displacement of more than one and a half million persons since the start of the crises in February 2003. The internally displaced are particularly vulnerable to attacks by the Arab militias. These people were lacking, until the beginning of 2004, all humanitarian assistance and protection due to the impossibility for the humanitarian organisations of reaching the region resulting from volatile security conditions. At present, external aid, in particular that of the European Commission (EC), has reached the vast majority of displaced persons in Sudan. Total aid given by the EC to the Darfour crisis, including the Sudanese refugees in Chad, since the beginning of the crisis is EUR 213 M, including EUR 86 M via ECHO (EUR 72 M to the Darfour and EUR 14 M in Chad).
Between April 2003 and February 2004, attacks directed against the civilian population in Darfour, air raids in particular, caused a surge of Sudanese refugees to the north-east of the neighbouring Chad, in the regions of BET (Bourkou-Ennedi-Tibesti), Biltine and Ouaddaï which are cross-border with Sudan on a North-South axis of 500 Kms.
Initially, the refugees installed provisional camps in the immediate vicinity of the border on sites close to Chadian villages where water points were accessible (Bahaï and Bamina in the region of BET, Iriba, Birak, Tiné and Adré in the region of Biltine; Adé, Daguessa, Haraza and Tissi in the region of Ouaddaï).
In 2003 and at the beginning of 2004, emergency assistance was delivered to the refugees on these sites during the time that UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) and its partners set up camps at a distance of at least 50 Kms from the border. The process of transferring the refugees started in January 2004 with the opening of the first camp, Farchana.
On 31 January 2005, the number of refugee camps is 11 including 1 in the region of BET (Ouré Cassoni); 5 in the region of Biltine (Iridimi, Toulloum, Amenabak, Kounoungo et mile) and 5 in the region of Ouaddaï (Farchana, Bredjing, Treguine, Goz amer et Djabal) hosting in total 213,314 refugees.
Identification for new sites for installing additional camps is in progress. These future sites, in the regions of BET, Biltine and Ouaddaï, will have to accommodate the refugees of the Ouré Cassoni camp, located too close to the border, and those of the Amenabak camp where water resources are non-existent. The new camps will also relieve pressure from camps where water resources are decreasing, such as Iridimi and Farchana.
These future camps will also permit reception of new potential refugees from Darfour drawn to Chad following further deterioration of security conditions or pushed by hunger. A contingency plan for the reception of 100,000 additional refugees is being finalised by the United Nations agencies and NGOs.
Chad is not only hosting the refugees but has also acted as a mediator between the Sudanese parties to the conflict. The international community is also involved trying to reduce the humanitarian crisis and in mediating the conflict in Darfour by putting pressure on the parties, particularly on the Sudanese government. The recent signing of the overall peace agreement (9 January 2005) with the SPLM/A (Sudanese People' s Liberation Movement/Army) aiming to settle the decades old North-South conflict in Sudan could present, for the Sudanese authorities, an opportunity to turn its attention on the conflict in Darfour. This in order to find a sustainable solution for the suspension of hostilities in the region, either by negotiation, or by strength by redeploying to Darfour the military resources rendered available as a result of the peace agreement signed with the SPLM/A.
Negotiations between the conflicting parties in Darfour should continue and the humanitarian situation improve but it is not likely that the conflict will be solved in a near future due to frequent violations of the cease fire and the marginalisation of certain rebel movements. Repatriation of the refugees from Chad towards Sudan is therefore not envisaged in the short run.
It can be mentioned that Chad has already hosted, in 1998, roughly 15,000 refugees from Darfour, in the region of the Ouaddaï. Humanitarian aid was then provided mainly around the Adré area and ceased following the improvement of security conditions in Darfour in 2000.
In addition, Chad currently hosts 30,000 refugees from the Central African Republic in the south of the country in the regions of the Logone Oriental and Chari Means, in a distance of approximately 600 Kms from the regions hosting the Sudanese refugees. These Central African refugees are installed in the camps of Amboko (13,738 people) and Yaroungu (13,199 people). The UNHCR considers that approximately 3,063 refugees are installed along the border, in these two camps. The current decision does however not aim at providing assistance to the latter group of refugees.