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Eastern Chad has been overwhelmed by a massive influx of hundreds of thousands of refugees from Darfur ( about 60 per cent of whom are children). At least twelve refugee camps have been established for them.
In a separate crisis, thousands of refugees poured into southern Chad fleeing armed conflict in the Central African Republic.Issues facing children in Chad
Activities and results for children
- The arrival of so many refugees has significantly worsened the key statistical indicators for children in Chad. Rates of infant, under-five, and maternal mortality are extremely high. One in five children will die before reaching age five.
- Only half of Chad’s children are fully immunized against the major vaccine-preventable diseases. Acute respiratory infections, malaria, and diarrhoeal diseases are the most common killers.
- HIV/AIDS affects 18,000 children under age 14.
- Just over a third of the population has access to clean drinking water. In eastern Chad, there is increased competition for water and sanitation resources. The scarcity of firewood has led to violent attacks against refugee women collecting wood.
- The provision of aid to the refugee camps is subject to disruption, as a result of violence, periodic heavy rainfall and other factors.
- Crowded conditions and poor nutrition in the camps have increased the risk of polio, measles, and malnutrition. Nationally, nearly 30 percent of children are stunted.
- The primary school enrolment rate for girls (51 per cent) lags far behind that for boys (75 per cent).
- In 2005, UNICEF opened three offices in eastern Chad to bring assistance closer to the refugee camps, which are scattered over a 500 km-long area.
- After a reported polio case in eastern Chad, routine vaccination programmes were begun in the refugee camps to combat measles and polio. Coverage reached 94 per cent of children under one year old.
- To prevent malaria, UNICEF and its partners distributed 45,000 insecticide-treated mosquito nets to children and pregnant women in the refugee camps.
- Water chlorination supplies, family water kits, and soap were distributed to more than 100,000 refugees.
- UNICEF and its partners provided therapeutic feeding for more than 9,500 malnourished children.
- In addition to erecting 350 school tents, UNICEF and its partners have financed construction of 250 semi-permanent classrooms. Each classroom can handle 80 children and will withstand eastern Chad’s harsh climate.
- More than 600 school-in-a-box kits allowed 45,000 Sudanese refugee children to attend school, some for the very first time.
- Thirty child-friendly areas in the refugee camps have given 27,000 children an opportunity to play, learn, and recover from their physical and psychological scars.
- To aid refugees in southern Chad, UNICEF donated thousands of high-energy biscuits, water kits, blankets, and bed nets; 10 school tents; vitamin A supplements; and 1,000 doses of measles vaccine.