- Title: CHADFILE: People fleeing violence in Chad double camps population in a week
- Date: 18th April 2007
- Summary: (AD1) ADRE, CHAD, (FILE - FEBRUARY 05, 2007) (REUTERS) ANT (CHADIAN NATIONAL ARMY) SOLDIER IN PICKUP TRUCK POINTING 106 MM CANON TO SUDAN TANK MOVING BACK BACK VIEW OF TWO SOLDIERS CARRYING WEAPONS ON THEIR SHOULDER WALKING ALONG THE FRONT LINE PICKUP TRUCK WITH SOLDIERS AND 106 MM CANON DRIVING TOWARDS FRONT LINE MAN IN FOXHOLE ON THE FIRST LINE OF DEFENCE WITH HEAVY MACHINE GUN IN FOREGROUND
- Embargoed: 3rd May 2007 13:00
- Topics: International Relations
- Reuters ID: LVAC66PO15GY1VPXWE53HC5DKBBL
- Story Text: Refugee camps in Eastern Chad are seeing a dramatic increase in its numbers as displaced people flee violence in their villages.
The number of people fleeing violence to camps in Eastern Chad has doubled in the last week, International aid agency Oxfam has said.
Attacks in eastern Chad by armed raiders and inter-ethnic conflict between Arabs and non-Arabs have killed several hundred people in recent months and forced thousands from their homes.
Chad, which has a quarter of million displaced people from Darfur in refugee camps, has now got 140,000 of its own citizens displaced due to fighting in Eastern Chad, according to the agency.
"When we left our village because of the fighting, our children were with us. But we arrived at another village that was attacked by the janjaweed and the rebels as well. There was a lot of fighting, shooting everywhere, so we just had to scatter. That was when we lost our children. We don't know if they were shot, injured or killed. There's no way of us knowing," Fatima Ahamad, a displace person in the camp said.
Pauline Ballaman, Goz Beida programme manager at Oxfam, the situation in the camps in Eastern Chad is at breaking point.
"Within the space of a week the IDP (internally displaced people) population has doubled. This time 10 days ago there were 8000 people here, another 9000 have arrived and there are still more trickling in. So its a disasterous situation in terms of capacity, lack of resources and the situation for the people who are here who came with absolutely nothing," she said.
Experts estimate about 200,000 people have been killed and 2.5 million have fled their homes since the Darfur conflict flared in 2003 when rebels took up arms against government forces, saying Khartoum had neglected the area, and then splintered into many factions adding to the mayhem.
The bloodshed has spilled into Chad, which said it wants to ease tensions with Sudan after a recent border clash but has vowed to use military force against rebels and Sudanese militias, even across the border, if attacked.
Many of the displaced people walked for days to reach the camp, arriving dehydrated and exhausted.
"I haven't got milk for the baby because I'm exhausted from walking and my body hurts," Defe Issa said.
The increasing number of displaced people arriving into the camps has put a strain on resources, leaving many to make do without essentials.
"The first thing we need is food for the children, then clothing and cooking utensils. We don't have any shelter, we don't have anything to sleep on. We just sleep here on the ground," Fatima Ahamad said, pointing to the ground.
In an attempt to get funding, international aid agency Oxfam launched its Darfur and Chad appeal on Monday (April 16) hoping to raise five million pounds (10,016,303 US dollars) to help victims of the fighting.
Penny Lawrence, Oxfams international director, who recently returned from a visit to Darfur said, "this is the greatest concentration of human suffering in the world."
"This is the third wave of IDP's that we've had in the last six months, so agencies that are working here are really stretched to the limit. We've had to give out all our stocks, we've got no reserves left. So its a critical situation for us, in order for us to be able to respond anymore," Pauline Ballaman added.
Oxfam is currently providing aid to 530,000 people, 470,000 of which are in Darfur and 60,000 in Chad. The aid agency says its work in Darfur and Chad is its largest emergency programme, costing 10 million pounds (20,021,182 US dollars) a year.
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