9 March 2007

Chad: Deteriorating Security Situation in Eastern Region Hampering UN Relief Efforts

The security situation in eastern Chad has deteriorated during the past week, hampering efforts by United Nations humanitarian agencies to help up to 105,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) and more that 230,000 refugees who have fled the fighting in Sudan's Darfur region.

Inter-ethnic violence continues to be reported, leading to the cancellation of humanitarian activities in one refugee camp, the UN World Food Programme (WFP) said in its latest update.

Earlier this week a UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) staff member and a security guard were kidnapped in the Guereda region, and WFP, UNHCR and several non-governmental organizations (NGOs) decided to reduce their presence, relocating 22 national staff to the town of Abeche.

March food distributions for the Sudanese refugees are due to start in the coming days. WFP plans to provide some 224,700 beneficiaries with over 3,700 metric tons of food. Food-for-work activities are still temporarily suspended in the region due to the security situation but continue in the other parts of the country, although security has also deteriorated in the capital Ndjamena.

So far WFP's Emergency Operation has received $23 million, 27 per cent of the total requirement.

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