CHAD CARE warns that instability threatens refugee lifeline

CHAD (February 8, 2008) – Stability in N’Djamena is crucial for the well-being of hundreds of thousands of refugees in Eastern and Southern Chad, CARE warned today. “N’Djamena is not only the primary route for most essential items for these refugee camps, it is key to ensuring security around Eastern Chad and therefore facilitating CARE’s assistance operations.” said Nicolas Palanque, Country Director with CARE Chad. “N’Djamena is the heart of the country, and when the heart affected by instability, the whole country suffers.”

CARE’s efforts in Chad are focused on serving 60,000 Sudanese refugees and 14,000 Chadians in the remote regions in Eastern Chad, as well as approximately 30,000 refugees, primarily from the Central African Republic, in the South.

Despite uncertainty in the region, CARE operations in the camps in the East and the South successfully continued throughout the crisis. N’Djamena is key to the operations in the camps, since supplies from Niger, Cameroon, Nigeria and other international locations that are intended for the refugee and IDP camps are primarily brought through N’Djamena. While new routes are expected to open to allow access to the East, there is currently one road leading to the eastern Camps.

In addition, N’Djamena is the strategic hub of the country, supporting the operational centers, Abeche and Gore, allowing the successful management of activities throughout the country.

Despite the disruptions in the capital, no problems were reported in the camps. CARE estimates that operations can continue for a month with the current supplies, carried out mainly with refugees and IDPs with the support of CARE staff; however efforts are underway to ensure that supplies are brought in to the capital as soon as possible.

In N’Djamena, CARE staff are reporting that markets in the capital are slowly resuming activities, but that there is a shortage of basic commodities because of the five-day shut down of all activities in the city. “Life is starting to return to normal, but there is still a lot to do to ensure there are no long term implications, and it is a very fragile balance” said Palanque. “CARE staff have been exemplary throughout the crisis – they managed to maintain a secure environment, which allowed us to pick up and continue our operations quickly and effectively.”

Media contacts:

William Dowell (Geneva, Switzerland): tel: +41 79 590 3047; [email protected]

Andrea Lanthier-Seymour (Ottawa, Canada) tel: +1 613 228 5678, [email protected]