ICRC boosts response to growing humanitarian crisis in eastern Chad

News and Press Release
Originally published
ICRC Press Release No.07/57

Geneva (ICRC) - Mounting humanitarian needs in eastern Chad, caused primarily by a worsening crisis of internal displacement, have prompted the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to appeal to donors for an additional 9.47 million Swiss francs for its Chad budget, raising it to Sfr 26.6 million (or just under 22 million US dollars).

The ICRC is stepping up aid - food, water, shelter, seeds and tools, essential household items and medical support - to 90,000 internally displaced people, returnees, and especially vulnerable residents who are giving shelter to the displaced.

"The ICRC's teams are concentrating their efforts on the unstable and less accessible regions of eastern Chad," said Thomas Merkelbach, the ICRC's head of delegation in the capital, N'Djamena. The ICRC maintains a presence in all conflict-affected areas, but it will continue to work mainly along Chad's volatile border with the Darfur region of Sudan, where several aid agencies, concerned about their security, have been forced to limit or suspend their operations.

Intensifying internal armed conflict, together with a sharp rise in ethnic violence and sporadic cross-border attacks, has created a grave humanitarian crisis in eastern Chad. More than 120,000 civilians are now displaced in the area; their numbers are growing as the security environment deteriorates. In recent months, intermittent but fierce clashes between government troops and the armed opposition have resulted in large numbers of casualties, mostly combatants; the ICRC's surgical teams have treated about 700 of them.

The ICRC has been operating in Chad for the past 29 years. It concentrates on protecting and assisting people who are internally displaced, detained or otherwise affected by either internal armed conflict or violence, or by the spillover from hostilities in neighbouring Darfur. Today, the ICRC has 46 expatriate and 180 locally recruited staff working in various regions of the country.

For further information, please contact:

Anahita Kar, ICRC N'Djamena, tel : +235 6 520 316 or +235 6 20 10 05
Claudia McGoldrick, ICRC Geneva, tel : +41 22 730 20 63 or +41 79 217 3216