Africare Assists CAR, Sudanese
Refugees in Chad
CHAD, February 23, 2007 — January 2007 saw a new surge of violence into wartorn Sudan, despite increased efforts to bring peace to the region. The United Nations estimates that, in the past six months, an additional 250,000 people have fled Darfur and taken refuge in neighboring Chad. To date, 2.2 million have been displaced since the conflict began in 2003.
From the Central African Republic (CAR), refugees crossed the border into southern Chad, in flight from what has been called “one of the most neglected crises in the world.” The U.N. High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) estimates that, as of the beginning of 2007, some 90,000 people have fled their homes in the CAR to escape the growing, politically sparked violence in that country’s northern provinces. A group of 400 CAR refugees who arrived at the Chadian border in January told UNHCR authorities that their attackers had tortured and, in some cases, executed villagers; that some women were raped and children taken for ransom; and that villages had been burned.
With refugees fleeing from the Sudan in the east and the CAR in the south, Chad faces an ongoing challenge to provide emergency aid.
Africare is delivering emergency humanitarian aid to Sudanese and CAR refugees, the majority of whom have taken shelter in12 refugee camps set up in Chad. Africare manages two of those camps.
Africare has set up the Refugee Relief Fund for anyone who would like to contribute to the relief efforts in Chad. Your donation will be directed to the area that appears to have the greatest need and where assistance from other sources is not readily available.
Since early 2005, Africare has been involved with the transfer of Sudanese refugees from Darfur to refugee camps located in northeastern Chad. The Gaga Camp is in eastern Chad and provides a temporary location for refugees to resettle. To date, 3,750 tents have been installed to accommodate the camp’s growing number of refugees. It is expected that more than 20,000 refugees will be housed within the camp by the end of February 2007.
In addition to basic shelter needs, Gaga Camp provides a wide variety of assistance activities – ranging from the distribution of food and non-food items, construction of infrastructure, and training and provision of services in the fields of agriculture, livestock, forestry and water-and-sanitation.
The broad objective of Africare’s assistance to the refugees is threefold:
1. Food security. Including distribution of food provided by the World Food Programme to camp refugees. Africare also helps refugees develop vegetable gardens with small-scale irrigation systems for food consumption and marketing of surpluses.
2. Income generation. Activities include training refugees to build improved stoves to prevent overuse of firewood, utilization of improved seeds for higher productivity, production and marketing of agricultural tools, small business development for women’s groups, and commercial exchange with local communities.
3. Sanitation. Africare ensures cleanliness in and around the camp through construction of latrines and training in health and hygiene, along with cleaning of public places and treatment of latrines. Africare also is constructing water points for animals.
Gore Camp currently hosts 1,400 refugees from the Central African Republic. The camp, located approximately 25 kilometers north of the Chad-CAR border, began receiving refugees in January 2006 and is currently in its fourth phase of operation.
Refugees gather around Africare staff during supply distribution at Gore Camp in Chad.
Africare manages the Gore Camp’s day-to-day activities, from the distribution of food and non-food items, to training and construction of key infrastructure, such as schools. Emphasis is placed on improving the living conditions of the refugees through the provision of food, shelter, water, sanitation, health, education and community services.
Highlights of Africare’s assistance to date at the Gore Camp include:
- Training of over 2,000 farmers (695 host community farmers and 1,400 refugees) in improved agriculture techniques; developing 14 hectares of demonstration fields; and distribution of seeds to refugees for crop production.
- Training of 615 HIV/AIDS peer educators.
- Training of over 1,000 refugees in several on-site income generating activities.
- Additionally, Africare is providing agricultural, economic and health-related assistance to refugees and local Chadians in communities surrounding Gore Camp.
Africare is a leader in development assistance and humanitarian aid to Africa as well as the oldest and largest African-American led organization specializing in African aid. Over its 37-year history, Africare has delivered more than $592 million in assistance — representing over 2,000 projects and millions of beneficiaries — to 36 countries Africa-wide.
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