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IOM Appeals for Donor Stamina to Tackle Multiple Migration Influx in Chad

By International Office of Migration (IOM)
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GENEVA, Switzerland, April 16, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- IOM is appealing for more funds to enable the Organization to provide urgently needed life-saving humanitarian and immediate reintegration assistance to thousands of returning migrants currently streaming into Chad from four border areas.

Some 17,000 Chadians migrants have entered Chad in the past three weeks through its eastern border with Sudan at Tissi, fleeing fighting in Sudan's Darfur region. The migrants are accompanied by approximately 9,000 Sudanese refugees also fleeing the fighting.

This is in addition to some 3,000 Chadian migrants who were working in gold mines of Darfur, who have entered Chad through another eastern border post at Adre. This group has also fled fighting between two Arab tribes over the control of mineral production areas.

On the northern border between Chad and Libya, Chadian migrants released from detention centres in Libya continue to arrive at the border regions of Borkou, Ennedi and Tibesti (BET). Since February 2013, some 1,600 individuals have arrived at IOM's Migrant Support Centre at Faya.

Following the recent events in the Central African Republic (CAR) where the rebels of Seleka have overrun the central government, some 6,000 Central African refugees have crossed the Chadian border in the South and settled at Maro, in Moyen-Chari region.

The eastern borders entry points which the migrants and refugees use as their escape routes are located in some of the most deprived areas, with little or no infrastructure. Often the returning migrants have to walk on foot for days under oppressive temperatures currently reaching 50 degrees Celsius, and with not enough food or water provisions. They arrive exhausted, dehydrated and extremely weak. The most vulnerable among them, including the sick, women and children, are in near fatality conditions.

The northern borders are located in the middle of the Sahara desert. Several migrants have already died on the way or upon arrival after travelling for weeks with hardly any food or water. Land mines left behind from decades of civil wars are strewn all over the area, making human movements extremely perilous. In the South the impenetrable jungles pose another type of danger to vulnerable men, women and children.

"The sudden influx of returning migrant workers leads to further impoverishment of entire communities.

These migrants were the main bread winners for these communities. This often triggers social tensions between the new arrivals and the host communities," says Qasim Sufi, IOM's Chief of Mission in Chad.

IOM is asking donors for US$ 3.5 million to provide emergency humanitarian assistance including food, water, medical and psychosocial care, temporary shelter and onward transport. The funds will also provide for immediate reintegration assistance to the returning migrants.