Chad: ICRC activities May – September 2007
26-09-2007 Operational Update
Although there has been a relative decrease in violence in the border region of eastern Chad since April 2007, there are still over 120,000 displaced people who are increasingly reliant on external aid for survival. The following is an overview of the ICRC's primary activities over the past five months.
The humanitarian situation
Although violence has decreased in the border region of eastern Chad since April 2007, many internally displaced persons (IDPs) feel unsafe to return to their areas of origin. Of the 120,000 civilians currently displaced in eastern Chad, most are increasingly reliant on external aid for survival. Families who had to flee their homes on repeated occasions lost their harvest and food reserves and resorted to selling productive assets (livestock, seeds, crops, agricultural tools, cattle, household goods etc.). The rainy season has further deteriorated living conditions for the displaced.
The ICRC focuses its assistance in areas where other aid agencies have been largely absent due to security constraints, such as Daguessa and Marena/Tiero in the Dar Sila region. Following intense fighting in March and April 2007, the ICRC was the only organization covering the immediate needs of the affected population and evacuated 127 people who needed special care, such as the wounded and sick, children, pregnant women and the elderly. While striving to meet the most urgent needs of the displaced in eastern Chad, the ICRC also assists host communities, who have often shown great generosity towards their displaced neighbours.
In areas where security conditions allow, the ICRC supports communities wishing to return to their villages of origin with agricultural tools and projects that aim to help people reach self-sufficiency.
ICRC had distributed food rations to over 125,000 people by the end of the rainy season, as well as essential household items, seeds and tools to some 72,000 IDPs and host communities in villages located along the Chad-Sudan border.
In May and June 2007, the ICRC distributed food rations to 30,000 displaced people in Dogdoré, where the IDP population had grown by 5,000 following armed clashes in April 2007;
In Adé and Kerfi, some 40,000 displaced people and residents benefited from two rounds of food distributions meant to cover their needs until the end of the rainy season.
In May and June, seeds and tools were distributed to over 57,000 people in the areas of Adé, Kerfi, Karoub Tawa and Dogdoré in the Dar Sila region, and to another 15,000 displaced people from Amtantara, Goundiang and Goz Baggar in the Dar Assoungha region. Each household got a hoe and 10 kilos each of millet, sorghum and groundnut seeds.
In September, living conditions for the displaced became more difficult due to the rainy season. Working in collaboration with the Chadian Red Cross and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, the ICRC distributed tarpaulins, jerry cans, blankets, kitchen sets and other essential household items which benefited some 12,800 people in Adé in the Dar Sila region.
The ICRC carried out several projects in Dogdoré and Marena (Dar Sila) as well as Goungour and Allacha (Assoungha) to alleviate the burden the displaced place on host communities. Those projects include installations of hand pumps for irrigation along with training to operate them, donations of oil presses, and the produc tion of sun-dried clay bricks for the building of grain storage facilities.
The survival of many families depends on cattle breeding. 114 veterinary assistants serving 5,700 families were trained and provided with kits containing essential animal medication.
Food commodities are at the disposal of the ICRC under an institutional agreement between the ICRC and WFP which allows the two institutions to transfer or exchange stocks.
Water and Sanitation
In the Assoungha region, the ICRC built three wells and rehabilitated one, easing access to water for around 7,000 residents and 12,000 IDPs.
In the area of Adré, nine wells were rehabilitated and two power generators fixed, allowing approximately 16,000 residents and 2,000 IDPs to get drinking water.
In Adé, a new electrical control panel was provided which allowed the provision of an additional water supply to approximately 3,000 residents and 12,000 IDPs.
In Iriba, the ICRC finished the refurbishing of a power generator and fit splitting valves in the water distribution grid, which now serves 15,000 inhabitants.
The ICRC repaired the water system at La Liberté hospital in N'Djamena, installed a new borehole pump and rehabilitated the sewage system of the hospital.
The ICRC now has a five-member surgical team based at La Liberté Hospital in N'Djamena, ready to respond to any needs that may arise anywhere in the country, in particular to raise the hospital's capacity to cope with mass casualties in relation to tensions in eastern Chad. Th e number of war wounded has decreased in the last three months, allowing the medical team to assist with other emergency cases while continuing to train local surgical teams. This support proved particularly important in the last three months as staff in hospitals across the country were on strike.
Both hospitals in Abéché and N'Djaména received equipment and training in war surgery. This includes war-wounded kits for around 100 patients, surgical instruments, tents, beds, as well as a pharmacy.
The ICRC continued its support to the CARK (Centre d'appareillage et de réhabilitation de Kabalaye) and the Notre-Dame orthopaedic center in Moundou, Southern Chad, the only two orthopaedic centres in the country. Between May and September 2007, 26 victims of mines and unexploded ordnance were transferred by the ICRC from eastern and northern Chad to the CARK in N'Djamena, where they were fitted with artificial limbs.
The ICRC finalized the building of a health centre in Arkoum (Assoungha). This centre will benefit both host and displaced populations (respectively 10,000 and 12,000 people).
The ICRC supported rehabilitated health posts in Dogdoré, Goungour, Matadjana and Arada and provided them with dispensary kits and dressing materials. These structures provide medical services to displaced populations and host communities.
ICRC teams continued to visit 44 places of detention across the country in order to make recommendations to the authorities to improve conditions of detention and treatment. They individually followed-up the cases of 229 detainees. The delegation submitted interventions in favour of vulnerable groups in detention, such as child detainees associated with armed groups.
ICRC teams helped improve sanitary conditions in the Bongor pri son located in southern Chad. The building of latrines, showers and rehabilitation of the sewage system will benefit 150 detainees.
The ICRC delivered nearly 2,500 Red Cross messages to Sudanese refugees in camps located in eastern Chad and collected about 4,000 for delivery to their families. The organization individually monitored the cases of 543 Sudanese refugee children separated from their parents. Increased efforts were made to restore contact between refugee children and their parents and, where possible, reunite the families.
In August and September 2007, the ICRC organized a refresher course for 26 IHL instructors from the army, police, gendarmerie and GNNT (Garde nationale nomade du Tchad) and a basic IHL course co-facilitated by the ICRC and the Chadian National Army for 21 new instructors.
In May 2007, the ICRC organized four information sessions on its mandate, activities in Chad and basic rules of IHL for members of the former FUC (Front uni pour le changement) opposition group posted to Mongo (Guera Region), awaiting their integration into the Chadian National Army.