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Living Conditions of Chadian Returnees from CAR Deteriorating

By International Office of Migration (IOM)
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GENEVA, Switzerland, September 26, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- Ten months after the fighting erupted in the Central African Republic (CAR), thousands of Chadian returnees are still living in appalling conditions in transit and temporary sites in Chad. With the rainy season now in full swing, their situation is deteriorating.

As of 17 of September, IOM and partners registered more than 113,000 Chadians who fled the insecurity in CAR and who have entered Chad with air and road evacuations organized by the government of Chad, with IOM assistance or by their own means since the fighting broke up in CAR in December 2013.

While 30,000 of the returnees are hosted by friends and families in different parts of the country, at least 73,000 are still living in tents in transit and temporary sites. They are provided basic facilities by IOM and other humanitarian actors, such as temporary shelters, water and sanitation facilities, health centres, schools, children-friendly spaces, as well as vouchers for their food subsistence.

But, as the rainy season has set in, the rains have damaged and even destroyed some of the sites' facilities, including the shelters.

IOM and its humanitarian partners have distributed emergency shelters and flood mitigation kits so that the evacuees could repair their shelters and drain the flooded water from the sites.

“Life in transit and temporary sites is never easy. Rains make it even more difficult. The emergency response that we have provided cannot solve the problem. Management of sites must be improved,” said IOM Chief of Mission in Chad, Sufi Qasim.

Following the massive influx from CAR into Chad, the Humanitarian Coordinator (HC) on behalf of the Humanitarian Country Team has decided to reactivate the Shelter/Camp Coordination Camp Management (CCCM) cluster that is led by UNHCR and co-led by IOM. The aim is to provide technical support for the management of both transit and temporary sites as well as to advocate for durable solutions for the displaced persons in the sites in the long run.

“The improvements are all the more necessary that we do not envisage an early return of these Chadians who lived for many years in the Central African Republic, and even for some of them since many generations. They are not reassured. They fear the security situation has not improved enough for them to return to their homes in CAR,” said Sufi Qasim.

One of the main strategies of the Shelter/CCCM cluster is to build the capacity of government officials, and national and international organizations operating in the sites.

In line with the cluster strategy, three training sessions on CCCM have been held in Gore (from 10 to 12 September) and Maro (from 17 to 19 September) in the south, and in the capital N'Djamena (from 22 to 23 September).

The main objective of the trainings was to improve the knowledge and skills of the trainees in identifying and addressing needs and gaps in the sites both in terms of management and provision of services.

A total number of 75 participants attended the three training sessions.

Trainees came from different sectors involved in the management and the provision of the different services in the sites including the three national NGOs designated by the Government of Chad to manage the three temporary sites in Gaoui in N'Djamena and Danamadja and Maigama in the south – l'Agence pour le Development Economique et Social (ADES), le Secours Catholique et Dévelopment (SECADEV) et la Croix Rouge Tchadienne (CRT) as well as other national and international NGOs, UN agencies and government institutions such as the Centre de Support en Santé International (CSSI), the Association pour les Libertés Fondamentales au Tchad (APFLT), the Secours Islamique (SI), CARE International, International Rescue Committee (IRC), le Secours Islamique Français (SIF), INTERSOS and la Commission National de Réfugiés et Rapatriés (CNARR).