We must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe in Chad, says IOM DDG Ugochi Daniels
The window of opportunity to avert a humanitarian catastrophe in Eastern Chad, which is on the fringes of Sudan, is rapidly closing, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) has said.
According to IOM estimates, 20 per cent (45,000) of the 225,000 people displaced into Chad are Chadian returnees and stranded migrants from South Sudan, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Uganda, Niger, Norway and Uganda. While a few of them have been able to integrate into local communities, the majority live in extremely precarious conditions across 25 sites, including a high school in the border town of Adré.
The Deputy Director General of Operations, IOM, Ugochi Daniels, who made this plea yesterday after meeting with Chadian women forced to flee the ongoing fighting in Sudan, said: “As the situation in Sudan, and particularly in Darfur deteriorates, I have witnessed firsthand the severe impact this senseless violence has had on ordinary civilians in Chad.
“The knock-on effects of the crisis in Sudan could have serious humanitarian implications on neighbouring countries, particularly Chad, which was already responding to a significant displacement crisis before this influx. I have heard stories of former teachers, nurses, and traders whose lives were upended by the fighting, who have had to return to Chad, and now need support to rebuild their lives. I appeal to the leaders of the Sudanese Armed Forces and the Rapid Support Forces to cease hostilities, restore calm, and begin a dialogue to resolve the crisis.
“The first responders to this humanitarian crisis were local community members who provided returnees with space to settle, blankets to shelter themselves and food. Despite their already limited resources, they have shown solidarity and generosity to their brothers and sisters in need. But today, as more people continue to arrive in Eastern Chad, local communities and authorities are reaching their breaking point.
“Since the beginning of the crisis in Sudan, IOM has been on the ground to support the Chadian Government’s efforts to respond to the situation. We are helping returnees meet some of their immediate needs through shelter, water trucking and unconditional cash assistance. We have also set up a humanitarian evacuation mechanism to enable stranded migrants to return home and reunite with their families. But this is just a drop in this ocean of despair. The looming rainy season is already threatening to cut off entire communities, as rivers are filling with water, thus hindering the delivery of much needed humanitarian aid,” she said.
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