Moundou (Fides Service) – There is alarm for the situation of Central African refugees sheltering in Chad, Radio Duji Lokar in Moundou (southern Chad) tells Fides Service. At least 22,000 people are camped in the border area between Chad and the Central African Republic after arriving here between December 2002 and April 2003. Many of them are abandoned children.
What caused the people to flee was fighting in the Central African Republic between the army of President Francois Bozize and troops loyal to former president Ange-Felix Patasse.
There are groups of Central African Republic refugees in various places. At Gore there are about 10,000, some settled in the two local camps, others taken in by families. Another 12,000 are spread out in Yanmodo, Matiti and Koumba, living under large trees or makeshift dwellings. Their living conditions are precarious: they have no clean water; the only water available is dirty and has to be collected several kilometres away; food is scarce because only two food rations have arrived: the first was 3kg of sorgo per family; the second in April was a 100kg bag of flour for every 30 people. Since then they have been slowly dying of starvation, Sick, weak they are too feeble to do even the smallest job.
Moreover relations with the local people are strained because in a region without infrastructures there is competition to gain possession of the few resources available.
The situation of the refugees threatens to deteriorate when the rainy season starts, there could be an outbreak of cholera.
So far calls for help from the international community have received no reply. Only at the end of June work will work be completed on a camp for 20,000 at 6 km from Gore. The camp will have a dispensary and large food storehouse. But food aid must come swiftly because of the urgent need and also because when the rains start it will impossible for trucks to travel roads and many localities will be inaccessible. LM (Fides Service 9/6/2003 EM lines 31 Words: 380)