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IOM Repatriates More Than 1,500 Desperate Migrants to Chad

By International Office of Migration (IOM)
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GENEVA, Switzerland, March 18, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- After days and nights on the road, a second IOM convoy of 661 distressed migrants (604 Chadians and 57 Sudanese) arrived in Moundou in southern Chad yesterday. An earlier IOM overland convoy from Cameroon to Chad brought 862 migrants last week.

IOM continues to assist thousands of migrants fleeing the ongoing violence in the Central African Republic (CAR) stranded in Cameroon. This includes 10,000 Chadians and other Third Country Nationals (TCNs) that have fled CAR for Cameroon and are seeking IOM assistance to continue their journey back home.

The stranded migrants in Cameroon have reported fleeing violence in Bangui, Carnot and Berberati in CAR where Muslims are currently being targeted in acts of brutal violence. Some have reported losing family members amidst the chaos and with homes and businesses destroyed. People are arriving in Chad with almost nothing to support themselves having spent two months in Cameroon sleeping in the open with little to no assistance.

ANALYSIS:

“The shocking physical condition of the evacuees being transported home to Chad after fleeing the crisis in CAR speaks volumes about the widening regional dimensions of the crisis now spanning many African countries. There are 15,000 Muslims and minorities scattered across multiple villages in CAR who are at constant risk for their lives. They have survived in small groups so far, by gathering together, with limited access to services, including health. These vulnerable people require urgent humanitarian and protection assistance. Many can be expected to try to flee at great risk to neighbouring countries”

Giovanni Cassani

IOM Emergency Specialist for West and Central Africa

Among the stranded migrants, there are also many cases of malnourished children with over 20 children having been reported to have died as a result of hunger. The IOM medical staff stationed in Moundou has additionally reported that there are numerous cases of physical disability due to stroke and communicable diseases such as malaria and respiratory infections. Moreover, the very serious traumatic events endured by many of the new arrivals highlights the dire need for psychosocial support.

To ensure travel in a safe and dignified manner, IOM provides pre-departure medical and fit for travel checks and provides also water and food for the journey, as well as post-arrival medical screening and care in Moundou.

IOM has made all the necessary preparations from additional shelter to the procurement of generators in order to receive the increasing number of arrivals in Moundou and facilitate their efficient transportation to their final destinations in Chad.

IOM has transported so far to their final destinations in Chad 3,675 out of the 5,276 migrants that have been registered in Moundou since December 2013.

More than 85,000 evacuees composed of Chadian returnees, other TCNs and those claiming to be CAR nationals have arrived in Chad. Moreover, the unabated violence in the CAR continues to cause a steady flow of migrants direct to Chad or through Cameroon and other neighbouring countries in the sub-region that need emergency assistance to meet their basic needs.