Chad: assistance to IDPs, detainees and wounded people, including those in the eastern region
19-11-2010 Operational Update
Acute humanitarian concern persists about the situation in Chad, with poor security conditions widespread, especially in the east of the country. The ICRC continues its work to assist above all people driven from their homes, as well as the wounded and detainees. The following is an account of what the organization did in Chad from January to September 2010.
Chad remains an unstable country that has been badly affected by the fighting in Darfur. There are 300,000 Sudanese and Central Africans living as refugees in Chad, while thousands of its own citizens are unable to return to the homes they have fled.
The conflict in Chad has died down to a great extent. Nevertheless, the security situation remains precarious, especially in the east, where banditry remains rife and light weapons proliferate. The violence-prone environment is preventing thousands of people from returning to live in their villages, and the crisis is exacerbating intercommunal tensions, particularly those over control of water and land resources, as well as between displaced people and their host communities. The risk of clashes is ever-present.
Following the abduction in November 2009 of one of its staff in Kawa, in eastern Chad, the ICRC temporarily suspended its activities in the east. When the delegates was released in March 2010, the organization resumed its work there.
"We're still helping people," says Judith Greenwood, head of delegation. "But these days we go in when there's a specific need, to assist the displaced, the war-wounded, detainees and the most vulnerable among the local people."
People deprived of their liberty
In the period under review, the ICRC visited over 2,600 detainees, 430 of whom it monitored individually. In all, delegates made 52 visits to 17 places of detention across the country.
The purpose of visiting detainees is to verify that their conditions are satisfactory, that their physical and mental integrity is respected, and that they enjoy adequate judicial guarantees. The ICRC engages in regular confidential dialogue with the detaining authorities and makes any observations and recommendations it deems appropriate.
The organization continues to approach the organizations and authorities concerned in order to bring about the transfer to orientation centres of captured minors with ties to armed groups and thus to help pave the way for them to rejoin society.
In April, the ICRC organized a seminar for 80 lawyers and other officials from the Justice Ministry on minimum acceptable conditions of detention. The participants shared their experiences with ICRC delegates.
Restoring family links
The ICRC set forth its work to restore links between members of dispersed families in refugee camps in eastern Chad. In the process, the ICRC:
- collected 1,912 Red Cross messages (53 of them from children separated from their families) and delivered 1,817 such messages (27 of them to children separated from their families)
- traced 25 persons following a request by their families
- reunited eight children with their families.
Aid for displaced people, returnees and local residents
In December 2009, fighting between the Chadian armed forces and a rebel force in the south near Korbol forced many families to flee their homes. Following an initial distribution carried out be the authorities, the ICRC provided about a hundred families with essential items, in particular tarpaulins, water containers, buckets, soap, blankets, mosquito nets and cooking utensils.
- The ICRC also supplied 40,000 doses of vaccine for livestock in the Assoungha region and 20,000 doses in the Diourf Al Ahmar area.
- In early October, the ICRC distributed seed and farming implements to 200 particularly vulnerable market gardeners living around Abéché. This operation was carried out in conjunction with the Red Cross of Chad and the country's rural development authority (Ouaddaï section).
- With ICRC support, the Red Cross of Chad brought relief to the victims of recent flooding. In Abéché, 240 families received basic items (tarpaulins, blankets, water containers, buckets, material for clothing, soap, mats and mosquito nets). Similar aid was furnished in Goz Baïda and, in the south, in Bongo and Lere. Twenty Red Cross volunteers in Abéché also took a brief course from the ICRC in conducting surveys of people's living conditions.
Care for the wounded
The hospital in Abéché is the only referral facility in the east of the country for war-wounded people and those requiring other emergency surgery. It therefore provides care for a population of some two million including 260,000 refugees and over 170,000 displaced people.
The ICRC provides large-scale support for the hospital with a seven-member surgical team. These specialists in war surgery divide their time between the operating room and the post-operative care ward. In the period under review, they treated 45 victims of war wounds and carried out 733 other urgent operations. The ICRC is also active in support of physiotherapeutic care.
Support for physical rehabilitation centres
In all, the Kabalaye limb-fitting and rehabilitation centre in N'Djamena and the Notre Dame de la Paix centre in the southern town of Moundou produced and fitted 260 artificial limbs (232 of them for war amputees) as well as 402 orthoses.
The ICRC referred 60 amputees from northern and eastern Chad to the N'Djamena centre to be fitted with artificial limbs. It covered the cost of their accommodation while they were patients there.
Improving access to water
In Abéché, the ICRC repaired and sanitized 12 wells. This work gave several communities totalling 3,000 people better access to clean water and made them better able to take advantage of the rainy season by means of improved water-collection and -storage techniques.
Preventing violations of international humanitarian law
The ICRC continued its efforts to make known and respected the rules of humanitarian law as well as its own mandate and activities. The main aim was to put across the message that civilians and the personnel of humanitarian organizations must be spared and respected.
Promotional events were regularly organized across the country and were attended by over a thousand people: soldiers, cadets, members of international contingents, policemen, community and religious leaders, students, political leaders and representatives of various groups from civil society.
Finally, the ICRC continued its support for the efforts of the Chadian authorities to incorporate international humanitarian law into national legislation and into the training, doctrine and operational procedures of the country's armed forces and security services.