Violence in Sudans Darfur forces thousands to flee
From late December 2019 to January 2020, clashes between rival communities in El Geneina, in Sudans West Darfur State, forced over 16,000 refugees to cross into neighboring Chad. The majority of them are women and children. They arrived exhausted, traumatized and often with signs of malnutrition. Following an alert by authorities in eastern Chad, a joint mission comprising UNHCR, WFP, CNARR (Commission Nationale pour l’Accueil et la Réinsertion des Réfugiés et des Rapatriés) and the Governor of the Ouaddai province was conducted along border areas to monitor the situation and meet with new arrivals. A rapid assessment of the refugee population revealed that it was composed mainly of women, children and elderly persons in acute need of assistance, including health services, water and sanitation, shelter and core relief items.
Accordingly, UNHCR, together with the local authorities and partners identified a new site in Kouchaguine-Moura, and works were started soon after to prepare it to receive the refugees. As of now, 14,274 individuals (4,183 households) have been preregistered.
The situation in Sudan remains volatile and unpredictable but the influx has decreased. UNHCR maintains close cross border and protection monitoring.
Initially, the relocation of the refugees to the new site was planned to start only after the basic camp infrastructures and services have been installed. However, serious refugee protection concerns at the two displacement locations in the border area prompted UNHCR to initiate the relocation of refugees to the new site much earlier than initially planned.
Simultaneously, in close collaboration with its Government counterparts and humanitarian partners, UNHCR has been working around the clock to ensure family shelters, latrines, showers, boreholes and other basic services are ready in the camp to receive new refugees.
From 4 February to 20 February, seven convoys have been organized. Then, as the shelter capacity at the new site was already overwhelmed, UNHCR and its partners had to temporarily suspend the relocation to increase appropriate shelter and infrastructures capacities in the new camp. On 27 February, in light of the concerning conditions in the border areas, it was decided to resume the relocation of individuals who are in urgent need of protection, especially those who were settled in Ardebe site.
On 6 and 13 March, 425 individuals have been relocated form the border area to Kouchaguine Moura. As of 12 March, a total of 4,559 individuals (1,145 households) have been relocated from the border area to Kouchaguine Moura.
A next convoy should be organized in coming days, depending on the development of infrastructure capacity in the camp.