Situation of the new Sudanese refugees in the Kouchaguine-Moura camp
New Sudanese refugees, who arrived in Chad between late December 2019 and January 2020, were welcomed at the border by Chadian authorities in collaboration with the National Commission for the Reception and Reintegration of Refugees and Returnees (CNARR) and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) before being transferred to the Kouchaguine-Moura camp, 40km from Abéché in the Ouaddaï province.
According to a UNHCR report published on 20 June 2020, intercommunal clashes in El Geneina, in Sudan's West Darfur state, have forced more than 16,000 people to find refuge in neighboring Chad. Relocation convoys from the border to the Kouchaguine-Moura camp began on 4 February 2020, and officially ended on 14 April, in compliance with the deadline set by the authorities. However, on 21 May, seven households of 26 people, who were awaiting the end of the harvest, were relocated to the camp.
Additionally, on 17 May 2020, information was received regarding the arrival in Chad of some 1,600 new people following an incident in West Darfur, where three villages were burnt down by Janjaweed militias on 16 May. The situation in Sudan remains volatile and unpredictable.
Verification of new refugees by UNHCR
In May 2020, UNHCR protection staff in collaboration with CNARR carried out an assessment to verify the status of people who spontaneously arrived at the Kouchaguine-Moura camp from different villages near the border. During this exercise, 25 additional households of 70 people were identified among the refugees already pre-registered. As of 30 June, 6,164 people (1,521 households) were hosted in the Kouchaguine-Moura camp, the majority of the remaining 9,000 undeclared people are presumed to have returned to Sudan. UNHCR is following up with colleagues in Sudan on their whereabouts.
Together with its government counterparts and humanitarian partners, UNHCR continues to work tirelessly to ensure that family shelters, latrines, showers, boreholes and other basic services are available in the camp for the new refugees.
The new refugees and the COVID-19 pandemic
Awareness-raising sessions on compliance with COVID-19 prevention measures are still ongoing in the Kouchaguine-Moura camp. To date, 3,922 people have been trained on good hygiene practices and social distancing measures to adopt in order to fight the spread of COVID-19. A new health center with temporary materials has been built and its management has been entrusted to the NGO International Rescue Committee (IRC), a partner of UNHCR. Some 6,388 patients have been received and treated free of charge at the health center. Protection and assistance activities are ongoing in line with COVID-19 prevention measures, to ensure that the needs of refugees are met.
Responding to the urgent needs of refugees
UNHCR, in collaboration with its partners, provides humanitarian response to the multisectoral needs of refugees in terms of food security, nutrition, health, water and sanitation, shelter and protection.
Food rations are regularly distributed and children under five are screened for acute malnutrition and treated if necessary. UNHCR and its implementing partners have made available 235 m3 of water for refugees; which covers all current needs. They have also built latrines and shower rooms in the camp and in surrounding villages and distributed non-food items for the benefit of all refugees. All shelter needs have been met except for those of the newly arrived. UNHCR also closely monitors cross-border and protection issues. According to the results of the initial protection monitoring, the refugees consider that it is not yet possible to return to their homes in Sudan due to the unstable security situation.
To strengthen refugee’ protection, UNHCR organized a training session from 8-12 June in the Kouchaguine-Moura camp for gendarmerie members of the Detachment for the Protection of Humanitarian Workers and Refugees (DPHR), on international protection of refugees, prevention of abuse and exploitation against refugees, United Nations security measures and prevention against COVID-19.
Visit of the Governor of the Ouaddaï province to the camps
The Governor of the province of Ouaddaï, General Brahim Seid Mahamat, carried out a mission from 11 to 14 June 2020, to the five camps (Breidjing, Farchana, Gaga, Treguine and Kouchaguine-Moura) run by the UNHCR-Farchana office and the villages around the camps. This mission was to raise awareness of host and refugee communities on peaceful coexistence, respect for the laws and regulations of the host country, access to land for refugees and COVID-19. The five camps in the Ouaddaï province are home to a total of 135,000 Sudanese refugees.