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UNICEF providing vital aid to CAR refugees in southern Chad

© UNICEF 2009 / Chad
Pupils in front of their school in the refugee camp of Amboko, May 2009.

GORE, Chad, 3 June 2009 – After the death of her husband in 2007, Hadidia Aliou fled her home village in northern Central African Republic (CAR), taking her five children with her. The  family now lives in the camp of Dosseye, one of three refugee camps located about 30 kilometres from the shared Chad/CAR border.

Since 2002, over 50,000 refugees from northern CAR have sought and found asylum in Chad. The influxes occurred in 2002, 2003 and in 2005. Most recently, conflict resulted in the influx of over 19,000 people to Daha/Massambagne in Chad.

One in five of these refugees is under 18-years-old, and one in ten is under the age of about four.

Providing vaccines

Malaria, acute respiratory infectious and diarrhoea are the principal diseases affecting refugee and local children in Gore, Chad. Parasites are also a very common problem, and the parasitic infections make the children more susceptible to other illnesses.

UNICEF is providing vaccines against the most dangerous childhood diseases, including polio, measles, tuberculosis and whooping cough. Medication is also being provided for malaria prevention and de-worming.

“I miss home, but I am grateful for all the services to which we have access here,” said Hadidia Aliou. “Last month my smallest daughter fell sick of malaria. Had I been in my home village, I would have lost her for sure. The doctor of the camp’s health center has saved her.”

Diminishing supplies

The latest national vaccination campaign against polio, organized with UNICEF support, took place in April 2009 and covered close to 100 per cent of refugees and local children. But the area is currently facing a shortage of vaccine. 

Malaria is also a huge threat in the region, especially during the rainy season. In response, UNICEF is supplying anti-malaria medication and bednets for children and pregnant women.

However, the available supplies are currently insufficient to ensure malaria prevention and treatment for the entire population.

Continuing education

Roughly 1,000 young children are attending activities – such as instruction in reading and writing - in the 12 child-friendly spaces built by UNICEF in the camps and in the surrounding local villages.

© UNICEF 2009 / Chad
Children in the kindergarten of a local village located near the refugee camp of Dosseye.

Additionally, in and around Gore, over 15,000 children are currently enrolled in the more than 25 schools supported by UNICEF. This includes more than 6,000 refugee pupils.

Besides funding the set-up and the equipping of the classrooms - and the construction of sanitary facilities - UNICEF is providing support for the training of teachers. Materials are also being provided to supply all pupils and teachers throughout the school year. 

“My five children had been at school before we had to flee,” said Hadidia Aliou. “I am happy that they can continue their education here in Chad.” 

In Southern Chad, UNICEF and its partners have progressively shifted from an emergency-focused approach towards the promotion of sustainability and integration. If a return home is not possible, the goal is to help the thousands of refugees from CAR become part of the local community, and find a new home in Chad.



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