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Red Cross volunteers set up additional camps in Chad
28 September 2004

Darfur: A Red Cross camp for refugees who have fled the violence in Darfur has opened in Tréguine in eastern Chad with the aim of relieving pressure on the overcrowded UNHCR camp at nearby Breijing.

The Tréguine camp, welcomed its first group of 200 Sudanese refugees on Monday. Transfers aboard Red Cross trucks will continue at a rate of between 200 and 400 a day over the next few weeks, until the camp reaches its maximum capacity of approximately 15,000.

The decision to open a new camp was taken by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) and Chadian authorities to take pressure off Breijing, whose population is now close to 45,000 on a site planned for just 20,000. Tréguine will take in the refugees who cannot be incorporated into Breijing due to constraints on the water supply and other facilities.

“This is not just another camp opening,” says Eelko Brouwer, head of the International Federation’s delegation in Chad. “This is about ensuring a decent standard of humanitarian assistance to a population that has suffered tremendously. It was not possible to do that for all in Breijing.”

The Chad Red Cross is responsible for running the new camp, and has received strong support from the International Federation and other Red Cross societies within the framework of an appeal for 14.2 million Swiss francs (US$ 11.24 million) launched last July.

Since then, volunteers and staff have been working around the clock to set up the camp’s infrastructure, including living tents, warehouses, latrines and a medical centre capable of treating up to 200 patients a day. Oxfam has recently struck several water sources sustainable all year round by drilling deep underground. The wells and boreholes they have set up are now assured to produce enough potable water for the entire population of the camp.

The local population, which despite its own limited resources has been very generous to the refugees, will also receive assistance in the form of medical supplies, wells, and non-food items such as plastic sheeting, sleeping mats and blankets.

With hundreds more refugees crossing the border into Chad each day, the Red Cross is well aware of the rapidly evolving demands of the situation. A contingency plan for up to 25,000 additional refugees -- to be taken care of in Tréguine or elsewhere -- is ready to be launched, and events are being closely monitored in collaboration with partner organisations.

From: International Red Cross and Red Crescent Society