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With nearly 600,000 refugees and 400,000 internally displaced persons, Chad remains a major host country despite its own socio-economic, political and security challenges.
Chad needs greater humanitarian and development support as it continues to host hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing violence on its eastern, western and southern borders and grappling with its own insecurity challenges, said UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi after a four-day visit. visit to the country which ended on Friday.
Located in Africa’s turbulent Sahel region, Chad is home to more than a million forcibly displaced people, including 580,000 refugees from conflicts in neighboring Sudan, Central African Republic and Cameroon, another 380,000 Chadians who fled the insecurity to other regions and 100,000 former refugees who returned to the country. During his visit, Grandi traveled to meet some of the approximately 400,000 Sudanese refugees who have been living in camps scattered across the vast eastern region of the country since the start of conflict in neighboring Darfur nearly 20 years ago. year.
Among them was Hassan Nour Ahmat, 40, a Sudanese refugee living with a disability who has spent the past 18 years in Milé camp, near the border with Sudan. The camp currently hosts more than 25,000 refugees from the Darfur region.
Ahmat, who fled his village of Amfarass on donkeys, said residents of Mile camp had recently seen a noticeable drop in the aid they were receiving, as assistance levels had not kept pace with growing needs, with more refugees fleeing violence in Darfur in recent years. .
“Aid is not like it used to be, and when we ask questions, the answer is always the same: lack of resources,” Ahmat said.
Chad is one of the largest operations in the region for UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency. Grandi said that in addition to increased humanitarian funding, the international community should prioritize longer-term solutions to the challenges facing the country and its government.
“The purpose of my visit here is to help the very generous Chadian authorities, who have kept their borders open to all these people, to mobilize resources not only to meet humanitarian needs but also to mobilize development resources in order to create new opportunities for these populations. populations,” Grandi said.
Nearly 1,000 kilometers away, on Chad’s southwestern border with Cameroon, Grandi spoke with some of the more than 8,000 refugees who have fled intercommunal clashes over scarce water resources between the herders and farmers in northern Cameroon – one of the starkest examples of the worsening climate crisis the fragility of the region.
“We are very grateful to our Chadian brothers and sisters. But they too have their own problems because it is difficult for everyone,” says Hawa Kamsouloum, 37, a single mother who fled clashes with her six children at the end of 2021.
“What we want is to be able to start our lives over here again, because I don’t see myself going home anytime soon,” she said.
Climate change is increasing competition for water and other resources in the Sahel region, where temperatures are rising 1.5 times faster than the global average. Water levels in Lake Chad have declined by 95% over the past 60 years, impacting communities in Chad, Cameroon, Niger and Nigeria who depend on the lake and surrounding rivers for their survival.
“Chad cannot do it alone.”
With little prospect for a rapid resolution of the environmental and security problems in the Sahel, the High Commissioner concluded by urging governments not to neglect the vital contribution of countries like Chad and to ensure that they have adequate resources to continue to provide safety to those fleeing their homes.
“The generosity of local and national authorities must be matched by international donors and development organizations, which should provide the resources and expertise to create opportunities for people who cannot yet return home,” said Grown up.
“Chad cannot do it alone and should not do it alone. The country needs the support of the international community.