AFRICA/SUDAN - International humanitarian organisations mobilise to help victims of war in Darfur western Sudan

Thursday, 4 March 2004

Khartoum (Fides Service) - International humanitarian organisations increase efforts to help Sudanese refugees sheltering along the border strip between Sudan and Chad. Yesterday March 3, the Chairman of the International Red Cross Jakob Kellenberger visited Sudan and he said he hoped that the IRC would have full access to Darfur, in west Sudan, devastated by fighting between the army and rebel groups. Since November 2003 IRC has been prevented from assisting refugees and displaced persons victims of war in this area.
Fighting in Darfur had resulted in between 600,000 and 800,000 internally displaced persons and another 100,000 Sudanese have fled to Chad where they are assisted by the UN High Commission for Refugees UNHCR
UNHCR continues to move refugees from Sudan to camps in Chad and to distribute emergency aid. Recently UNHCR and its operative partners moved 586 refugees from Tine and Guimeze to a transit centre at Kounoungo. Some 496 refugees have been moved from Touloum to Kounoungo.
The move from Touloum to the new centre at Kounoungo is to stabilise the number of refugees on the site until wells are operative; once the wells are working they will supply water for a greater number of refugees. At present water is transported from the Iriba transit centre.
UNHCR air lifts from Pakistan and Tanzania continue. The third of five lights programmed from Pakistan, reached Chad on March 3 with tents and emergency supplies. From Tanzania the sixth of seven flights carrying blankets, plastic sheets and other aid from UNHCR stores in the country has arrived. With these air lifts, started in mid February including a first air lift of emergency aid from Copenhagen, UNHCR hopes to transport a total 511 tonnes of emergency aid to Chad.
Ruud Lubbers, UN High Commissioner for Refugees went to Chad to discuss with the national authorities the situation of 110,000 Sudanese refugees in east Chad and 33,000 refugees from the Central African Republic in southern Chad.. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 4/3/2004 righe 34 parole)