|© UNICEF 2004|
|The Bredjing refugee camp in eastern Chad|
N’DJAMENA/NEW YORK, 25 August 2004 – UNICEF, United Nations agencies and non-governmental organizations continue to work together to assist the tens of thousands of people who have been forced to flee their homes in the Darfur region and are currently living in camps in eastern Chad.
“We are very concerned by the situation of Darfur refugee children and host communities’ children during this critical period of the rainy season. Malnutrition is still affecting more than a third of the children who then become very vulnerable to infectious diseases. They are also exposed to the risk of malaria and to bad sanitary conditions,” said Cyrille Niameogo, UNICEF Representative in Chad.
UNICEF has sent 81 tons of humanitarian aid supplies to N’Djamena in eastern Chad. The emergency supplies, which include nutritional supplements, educational materials and materials for water treatments, will help thousands of Sudanese refugee children along with Chadian children in host communities.
UNICEF, the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are also currently supporting the Ministry of Health in the implementation of sanitation measures including water chlorination.
|© UNICEF 2004|
|Women and girls gathering water in the Bredjing camp|
A lack of clean water presents a serious danger to the health of children in the camps. In an improvement to living conditions in the Bredjing camp, UNHCR has drastically increased the delivery of water to people in the camp from 1.7 litres per person a day to 12 litres per person a day. But more needs to be done.
The Bredjing camp is severely overcrowded with a population of 40,000. Most of the other refugee camps in eastern Chad have populations between 15,000 to 20,000 people.
Combating disease in the camps
“UNICEF has been working hard to ensure the vaccination of all children against measles and polio, vaccinating 94,540 children against measles and providing 206,000 doses of vaccines in the last two months,” said Mr. Niameogo.
UNICEF is providing doses of measles and polio vaccines for immunizing Sudanese children living in camps in Chad. The organization will continue to work in Chad to help prepare the National Immunization Days against polio for 17-19 October 2004, in close collaboration with the Ministry of Public Health, the World Health Organization and Rotary International.
The vaccination undertaken during these days will cover all Chadian children under five years old and all Sudanese children living in eastern Chad.
|© UNICEF 2004|
|Girls carefully carry water back to their families|
The lack of sanitation in camps is a severe problem
UNICEF is concerned about the extremely poor sanitary conditions in the camps. There have already been a large number of cases of diarrhoea reported; diarrhoea can be deadly for children living under difficult conditions.
A Hygiene Education Campaign is underway. UNICEF is supporting the training of 400 members of the 94 Hygiene Education Committees in the region and will equip them with education materials and with wheelbarrows, rakes and shovels. Twenty tons of soap have already been distributed and another 50 tons of soaps are being ordered.
In addition, UNICEF is also providing educational materials and setting up temporary classrooms for the children living in the refugee camps.
“We are now accelerating the set up of temporary classrooms so that schools will be ready for the start of the school year by early October. A lot remains to be done. These children have lost their homes and many have lost some of their family members. We must help them while in Chad to live a child life like every child,” said Mr. Niameogo.