ME and Ophelia

Thursday, August 05, 2004

Food provisions for 6 months are now running out

Aug 5 report from Abeche, Chad:

UNHCR and the World Food Programme have struggled against tremendous odds to feed the refugees.

Difficulties in delivering aid in a country that has no railroads, few paved roads, and only about 7,000 telephone lines have been compounded by the rainy season, which makes parts of the country virtually inaccessible by land.

The UNHCR initially underestimated the number of refugees. Plans were made to receive 72,000 refugees from Sudan. As of early August, 174,000 had arrived.

As a result, provisions that were expected to last six months have almost been exhausted, and the WFP will now make a new appeal for donations, said U.N. officials speaking on condition of anonymity.

New wave of refugees from Darfur feared

Aug 5 report from Abeche, Chad says humanitarian agencies working in eastern Chad are bracing for another wave of Sudanese refugees, following an expected crackdown by Sudanese authorities against the infamous Janjaweed militia.

Reaction to Sudanese crackdown `unpredictable'

Eduardo Cue, spokesman for the UN High Commission on Refugees, said the situation in Darfur is unpredictable and no one knows how the Janjaweed will react if Sudanese authorities do crack down.

Humanitarian agencies have also been puzzled that more refugees have not crossed into Chad, Cue said. "We think that these people are terrified to move," he said. "But once the military pressure on them is removed, they might then decide to flee Sudan into Chad." About 180,000 refugees, mainly from the Zaghawa and Massalit ethnic groups, fled Darfur into Chad.

Another U.N. official, intimately familiar with the situation in Sudan and speaking on condition of anonymity, warned Janjaweed might go on a rampage if faced with government pressure to disarm. "A lot of these people are just like the Taliban," the official said. "They can go berserk." Another possibility is that, fearing a clash, the Janjaweed, who are of Chadian Arab origin, might flee into Chad and themselves become refugees.

# posted by Ingrid J. Jones @ 8/05/2004
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