Sudan + 1 more

UNICEF Humanitarian Action Darfur Crisis: Sudan - Affected children in Chad Donor Update 07 Sep 2004

The refugee population in Chad reaches 200,000 amid fears of fresh influx;

A 3-month Emergency Plan of Action launched to help Sudanese refugees;

81 tonnes of emergency aid airlifted with school, health and nutrition supplies;

UNICEF augments its donor appeal to sustain relief effort in the months ahead.


The influx of Sudanese refugees into Chad has grown rapidly despite a 45-day humanitarian cease-fire agreed in April, far surpassing the earlier UN working scenario of 110,000 refugees. It is now estimated that there are some 190,000 Sudanese in nine refugees camps (with two additional camps under construction) as well as along the Chadian side of the border. It is feared that up to 30,000 more Sudanese could be driven into Chad in the face of continuing violence, creating a new influx that would strain UNICEF and its partners’ ability to assist the affected children in eastern Chad. Violence targeted at civilians, including rape, killing and the burning of homes, has continued unabated in recent weeks in spite of a UN Security Council resolution threatening Khartoum with sanctions if it does not quell the systematic campaign of violence by the pro-government Janjaweed militias before August 30.

The UN agencies have started developing contingency plans to assist 100,000 additional Sudanese refugees in eastern Chad over the coming months. UNICEF is expected to contribute significantly to prepare for the possible arrival of a new wave of refugees. Fears that the refugee crisis may get much worse grew in the countdown to the African Union-sponsored peace talks between the Government of Sudan and Darfur rebels that opened in Abuja, Nigeria, on August 23.

Additional threats

While the Sudanese refugee crisis remains largely a tragedy of human design, two natural phenomena have joined forces to aggravate the situation of the crisis-affected populations. Since June, relief efforts are being severely hampered by the rainy season, which is expected to last until the end of September. By then, a second, more devastating foe, the locust plague that is sweeping the Sahel belt, from Mauritania to Sudan, is expected to have reached large areas of Chad, including the regions in the East affected by the Sudanese refugee crisis. The locust plague is likely to seriously strain the already scarce food resources of eastern Chad, with drastic consequences on the nutritional status of refugee and local children. In early August, the Government of Chad appealed to the international community for US$ 9 million to help tackle locust swarms that have started destroying crops in the country’s west.

Of increasing concern is the plight of the local population of eastern Chad. The prolonged stay of thousands of refugees has strained the already scarce resources of the host communities. Malnutrition rates are higher amongst local communities than amongst Sudanese refugees in some areas of the border. Water remains a scarce commodity, with barely 1.4-3% of the local population having access to safe water. Another area of particular concern is the possible spread of guinea worm disease which, while having been eliminated in Chad, continues to be endemic among Sudanese populations.

Refugee camps in Eastern Chad



UNICEF’s main interventions target refugees and local communities, using the opportunity to enhance the capacities of local basic services. They are implemented in close collaboration with the different Ministries and in coordination with UN agencies and other partners. In May, UNICEF opened a sub-office in Abéché in order to coordinate emergency activities. A 3-month Plan of Action has been developed in order to reinforce UNICEF’s response to the crisis from August 1 to October 31. Under this Plan, a new sub-office will be opened in Iriba (northern area) and a total of 27 staff will be deployed in eastern Chad to implement UNCIEF emergency activities.

Health and Nutrition

Control and prevention of measles outbreak is a major concern. In February-March, UNICEF in close collaboration with the Ministry of Health and the health sector NGOs carried out a massive measles vaccination and Vitamin A supplementation campaign, targeting children among refugee and host communities. A total of 75,397 children, aged 6 months to 15 years, were vaccinated against measles, representing an 87% coverage rate.

After March, thousands of new Sudanese refugees arrived in Chad, whose children were not vaccinated. At the same time four cases of polio were reported in Darfur. In order to vaccinate all the 86,400 refugee children against measles and polio, UNICEF provided 206,000 measles and polio vaccine doses in July-August. During the same period, UNICEF supported two catch up vaccination campaigns against measles and polio in three different camps (Bahaï, Goz Amer, Djabal). A total of 19,143 children (6 months to 15 years) have been vaccinated against measles, which represents a coverage rate of 82%. For Polio vaccine, 9,657 children have been immunized (coverage rate: 100%). Vitamin A supplementation was distributed to 8,479 children (coverage rate: 99%). In other camps, health NGOs will also complete catch up immunization campaign with the measles and polio vaccines provided by UNICEF. Support is also being extended to NGOs and the Ministry of Health for routine immunization in all refugee camps and in the five health districts hosting refugee population.

UNICEF participated actively in a major nutritional survey carried out in June with UNHCR, WFP and CDC-Atlanta, which revealed a global acute malnutrition rate between 36% and 39% and severe acute malnutrition rate above 5 % among refugee children under five years old. These levels of global acute malnutrition indicate a serious crisis. Refugee children are at high risk of serious illness or death. Before the survey results were released and conscious of the growing malnutrition, UNICEF had already provided on-going support for nutritional feeding centres run by NGOs, representing around 50% of case load, with the provision of 4MT of therapeutic milk F-100 (9,300 sachets). In August, UNICEF provided 1MT of a Mineral and Vitamin Complex, mixed with ordinary milk, to provide therapeutic milk for 1,000 children for 3 months. More than 750 children are currently cared for in various Therapeutic Feeding Centres (TFCs). An additional supply of therapeutic milk F-75 to cover the needs of 1,000 children for 6 months was shipped to N’Djamena on August 22. Since August 11, a UNICEF expert in nutrition is assisting TFCs in the field, working on the improvement of therapeutic protocols and giving on-the-job training to health staff.

7,000 insecticide treated bed nets were distributed in June to the health NGOs for pregnant women, breastfeeding mother and vulnerable children.


For the prevention of HIV/AIDS, UNICEF ensured a training of 15 trainers in early July. These trainers are part of the Chadian Red Cross and community services agents of the NGO SECADEV. They have now trained 100 peer educators (52 men and 48 women) in six camps who are currently conducting sensitization activities with the refugee population.

Emergency Education

Primary schools are operational in 6 camps with about 14,000 children. This is far from covering the educational needs of the targeted 60,000 children. Since the education enrolment rate is low in Darfur, many refugee children never attended school or were in the very first level of primary schooling. In fact, the development of schools in the camps will give an opportunity to get education for the first time for many school-age children, especially girls.

UNICEF has already provided 234 school-in-a-box kits for 18,720 children; some are being pre-positioned at the camps to be used for new classes. Basic school material was also distributed to the public school in Tiné, which was used for the refugees between January and May, and to refugee settlements on the border who were not yet relocated in the camps. In addition, 6,067 Sudanese basic textbooks were also provided to the schools in the camps so that the pupils could study in their own curricula. A total of 8,840 pupils are already benefiting from these textbooks. Since most of the children are in the first levels of primary schooling, additional textbooks are being ordered. An agreement has been signed with the NGO Intersos, who is in charge of camp management in Goz-Amer and Djabal camp. Under this agreement, 7,200 children, aged 6-14 years old, will have access to school; 950 pre-school age children will benefit from Early Childhood Development (ECD) activities; 450 teenagers will access a non-formal education programme. Similar agreements are in the process with other NGOs.

UNICEF is supporting the installation of temporary classrooms by procuring plastic sheeting (193 roll of tarpaulins) and 120 mats and basic furniture. 300 tents (of 45 m2 each) are being ordered to accelerate the setting up of classrooms for schools.

Training material for primary school teachers has been developed in Arabic and a five-day training session was organized on 1 September for 24 Education Supervisors. For pre-school age children, a team of the Ministry of Social Welfare and Family, supported by UNICEF, trained 140 refugee animators and supervisors on ECD activities in five camps. Training material has been developed in Arabic for ECD activities.

65 Early Childhood Care Centres have been set up in five camps, with a total number of 2,600 children, aged 3 to 5 years, benefiting from specific ECD activities. The team of the Ministry of Social Welfare is currently in the field to continue the training in two more camps. 90 recreation kits already in N’Djamena will soon be distributed to these centres, in addition to the 940 mats.

Water and Sanitation

The sanitary conditions in the camps remain very poor and cause a high number of diarrhoea cases. Hygiene education is one of UNICEF’s priorities, especially during the critical period of the rainy season. UNICEF supported the set up of the 153 gender balanced Hygiene Education Committees in 8 refugee camps. More than 340 refugee members of these Committees have been trained on hygiene-education promotion in six camps and are currently conducting hygiene education activities. Sensitization tools have been produced and tested with the contribution of refugee populations and will soon be distributed to the Committees (285 visual flipchart with simple messages and pictures). Committees will also be equipped with wheelbarrow, rakes and shovels.

691 Basic Water Family Kits (water tablets, jerry cans, etc.) have been provided to 41,460 refugees and host populations.

To improve hygiene conditions in the refugee camps, 20MT of soap bars have been distributed to 54,000 refugees. An additional 50MT will be provided to 105,000 people of host communities.

Spraying activities to prevent malaria and well-chlorination activities have been carried out in two camps by a mobile team of the Ministry of Environment and Water, supported by UNICEF. The team will continue its activities in further three camps.

9.6MT of chemicals have been supplied to the NGO, IRC, for water treatment for a 6-month period in the camp of Oure Cassoni. This will provide quality water to 18,025 refugees currently living in the camp. In the same camp, UNICEF investigated the possibility of constructing hand dug wells. Since the testing indicated that the yield would not be sufficient to meet the needs of 16,000 people, a hydro-geological survey has been completed to find a more sustainable solution with the drilling of boreholes.


UNICEF is the sole agency working in Mine Risk Education (MRE) in the refugee area, which is one of the most contaminated areas in Chad with landmines and Unexploded Ordnance (UXO). A number of incidents due to UXO explosions have been reported since April, most of them involving children. Two sensitization campaigns have been carried out in the refugee area with the Chad Agency for Mine Action. A total of 1,084 community leaders, religious leaders, humanitarian staff, police force, school teachers and children were trained as “MRE mobilisers”. They are responsible for the sensitization of refugees and the local population, using MRE folders, which were especially designed for this activity. About 160,000 people in both refugee camps and host communities have been sensitized.

UNICEF is working with the National Commission for Refugees to support birth registration activities: 1,290 registers and 10,000 birth certificates are available for the registration of refugees’ and host communities’ newborns.

A mobile team of the Ministry of social Welfare and Family, supported by UNICEF, collected data on psychosocial needs of refugee children in different camps. The data is now being processed to establish an adequate response to children’s trauma.

220 recreational kits are available in Abéché for 18,000 children and teenagers.


The August-October Plan of Action focuses solely on immediate humanitarian needs of children and women in eastern Chad.

Health and Nutrition

The planned nutrition activities for the 3-month period aim at improving the access of all malnourished children to therapeutic care in eleven TFCs in the refugee camps (one per camp, including the two camps under construction). By end-October, UNICEF expects to achieve at least 80% immunization coverage against measles for children between 6 months and 15 years, and at least the same coverage against poliomyelitis for children aged under-5 in all eleven refugee camps. UNICEF will also administer vitamin A to at least 80% of refugee children between 6 months and 5 years.

Nevertheless, full coverage remains the target of UNICEF interventions in eastern Chad, given the extreme vulnerability of the refugee and local children. Under the Plan, UNICEF will start routine Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI) in at least one health facility per refugee camp and will increase routine EPI vaccination coverage in at least five health facilities in the affected health districts. UNICEF will also train peer educators on HIV/AIDS issues. The expected outcome at the end of the three-month period is that 24 trainers and 200 peer educators will be fully trained to sensitize refugee women of child-bearing age and youth aged 10 - 24 years in eleven refugee camps.


Support for education, coupled with specific protection measures, remains a strategic priority for UNICEF’s future programming. To ensure access to primary education for the estimated 60,000 refugee children aged 6-14 years, UNICEF will equip and make fully operational 330 classes in the eleven refugee camps before the end of October. Another 30 classes will be functional for 1,800 children under six years old in five camps. Eight recreational centres will be built in as many camps as possible to provide non-formal education for 1,600 adolescents. UNICEF will also provide school and sport supplies for 2,000 Chadian children and in ten villages neighboring the refugee camps.

Child Protection

Priority activities include ensuring care for non-accompanied children and assisting victims of sexual violence. The Plan of Action will address the threat that landmines and UXO pose to people, especially to children. As part the Plan, UNICEF has planned MRE activities that are expected to benefit 60,000 refugees and 40,000 local people.

Water and Sanitation

Over the 3-month period, UNICEF will help provide potable water to 30,000 refugees in the newly established camp of Oure Cassaoni, and will build six water wells to meet the needs of 3,000 people within local communities. UNICEF will also build 1,700 latrines, including school and family latrines, to manage sanitation and waste disposal in the refugee camps.


In light of the deepening refugee crisis and the increasing influx of Sudanese refugees and their growing relief needs, with no imminent solution in sight, the UN has revised the 2004 Consolidated Appeal for eastern Chad launched in March. As part of the revised Appeal, which was presented to donors on August 27, UNICEF revised upwards its funding requirements to US$ 10.65 million.

UNICEF is grateful to the generous donor contributions, which amount to US$ 5.35 million and cover slightly less than 50% of the total funding requirements. However, more funds are needed to be able to continue meeting the growing needs of the children affected by the refugee crisis.

Table 1: 2004 Appeal Requirements and Receipts
Appeal (US$)
Funds Received
Balance (%)
Measles & Vitamin A
Water and Sanitation
Programme Support*
(*) Includes operation costs, communication, monitoring and evaluation

Table 2: Donor Contributions

Contributions (US$)
UNICEF National Committees
Australia National Committee
Finnish National Committee
French National Committee
Italian National Committee
Netherlands National Committee
Norway National Committee
UK National Committee
Total Funded

In addition, UNICEF is thankful to the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) which contributed US$ 326,508 for Mine Risk Education and US$ 1,113,173 for measles vaccination campaign as part of the individual projects in the country, including the refugee area. UNICEF also received a donation-in-kind of soaps and basic water family kits from the U.S. Embassy in Chad, representing a total value of US$ 114,000.


Education Establishing and equipping temporary classrooms for primary education in the Sudanese refugee camps for the beginning of the school year in early October.
Water and Sanitation Installing 1,000 family latrines and 400 school latrines in
the camps.
Drilling boreholes and installing wells to ensure a safe water supply for the refugee and local populations living in areas surrounding the camps.
Child Protection Establishing monitoring and reporting mechanisms for
child abuse and child rights violations in the camps.
Providing social and psychological support for refugee children and women, especially those who have suffered from different forms of violence.

Further information on the UNICEF Emergency Programme in eastern Chad can be obtained from:

Cyrille Niameogo
UNICEF Representative
Tel: + 235 51 89 89
Fax: + 235 51 74 65

Olivier Degreef
Tel: + 41 22 909 5655
Fax: + 41 22 909 5902

Gary Stahl
New York
Tel: + 1 212 326 7009
Fax: + 1 212 326 7165