With the desperate situation in Chad, more than 100,000 children fleeing the Sudan conflict face new dangers

Sathia Kumar

Start of rainy season increases risk of disease and delayed humanitarian access to hundreds of thousands in need

After fleeing the intensifying conflict in the neighboring Sudanese region of Darfur, children and families have arrived in Eastern Chad in search of safety. As they seek refuge in Chad’s already-poor provinces, they now face new challenges and requirements.

More than 140,000 Sudanese refugees and 34,000 Chadian returnees have crossed the border as of June 23, with over 90% of them women and children. As violence in Darfur continues to rise, thousands more are anticipated to arrive.

As they attempt to cross into Chad, some of the refugees recount tales of civilians being attacked and killed as they fled burning villages. Many are harmed or have lost friends and family, and a few kids have forgotten about their families while escaping.

Jacques Boyer, the UNICEF representative in Chad, stated, “The horror children and families are experiencing in Sudan is quickly spiraling into a serious crisis in Chad.” We are running out of resources to help the children and families who are arriving, and we are becoming increasingly concerned that this humanitarian emergency may fracture the extremely fragile border cohesion.

The majority of refugees enter Chad through 27 border crossings in the Ouaddai, Sila, and Wadi Fira provinces. The levels of poverty in these areas are among the highest in the nation. Admittance to fundamental administrations, for example, water, sanctuary, wellbeing and instruction is incredibly restricted, and presently networks are having extra strain to share extremely scant assets. The prices of food and other goods have also significantly increased as a result of the complete suspension of trade with Sudan.

UNICEF has been able to accomplish the following since the crisis began:

  • Building boreholes for refugees and host communities to ensure access to safe water, providing home water treatment and delivering hygiene promotion messages to help avoid waterborne diseases
  • Setting up child-friendly spaces to provide safe spaces for children, provide psychosocial support, and identify and reunite separated and unaccompanied children with their families.
  • Prepositioning essential medicine, vaccines and nutrition supplies to the health centres in the villages hosting refugees.
  • Sensitizing refugees and host communities on essential family practices, social cohesion and prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse.

UNICEF and its partners have revised initial planning to increase the number of refugees and returnees expected to arrive by December 2023 from 100,000 to 310,000. By the middle of June, more than half had already fled Sudan for Chad. As the downpours start in Chad, admittance to the impacted territories will be essentially removed and prompt scale-up of the reaction is earnestly required.

“We need help quickly to limit the effects of the humanitarian disaster that is unfolding before our very eyes,” Boyer stated. “This crisis is escalating by the day.”

UNICEF Chad has raised ten percent (or US$2.5 million) of the required $25 million to respond to the crisis.

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