30 August 2004
UN Requests more Funds to Meet Humanitarian Needs in Chad
NEW YORK, 27 August (OCHA) -- The United Nations is now asking the international community for $166 million to address humanitarian needs in Chad until the end of the year. Its initial appeal, which it launched last March, was for $54 million. Thus far, current contributions and pledges amount to $80 million, or 48 per cent of the revised requirements.
The needs of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) have increased the most, with requested funds having shot up from $20 million to $105 million. That is because the number of refugees fleeing from Darfur into Chad has steadily increased from 110,000 in March, to 200,000 at the end of July. The UNHCR is also making plans to help an additional possible 100,000 beneficiaries. Concerns are not limited to the refugees, however, as resources of the local Chadian host communities are also being drained.
Other reasons for requesting more funds involve the expenses and logistical difficulties arising from trying to meet minimal standards in water, health and nutrition, in the underdeveloped deserts of Chad. Road transport, for example, has been compromised by a lack of commercial fuel supplies and, in many cases, costly air transport has been the only option. Also aggravating the situation are the advancing rainy season, which will isolate refugees and require the pre-positioning of stocks; the recent arrival of locust swarms, which are seriously threatening crops, vegetation and pastures; and insecurity on the Sudanese border, which has necessitated the relocation of refugee camps.
Because the refugees are spread out over such a vast area, the UNHCR, the World Food Programme (WFP) and the United Nations Childrens Fund (UNICEF) have established a total of 11 field offices to help meet humanitarian needs. Also, over 31,100 tents have been shipped in to make up for the lack of sturdier construction materials. Currently, some 165,000 refugees are being assisted in 10 camps, with one additional camp still under construction.
For its part, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) will deploy two officers early next month to support the work of the Humanitarian Coordinator, as well as promote information sharing and stronger linkages with Khartoum. Also, next month, an inter-agency mission will assess the impact of the refugee crisis on host communities.
For further information, please call: Stephanie Bunker, OCHA New York, tel.: 917 367 5126, mobile: 917 892 1679; or Elizabeth Byrs, OCHA Geneva, tel.: 41 22 917 2653, mobile: 41(0) 79 473 4570.
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