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UN Calls For Aid For Sudanese Fleeing To Chad

UN Refugee Agency Urgently Appeals For Aid For Sudanese Fleeing To Chad

Declaring that it is in a race against time, the United Nations refugee agency today issued an urgent appeal for funds for its emergency operation to help up to 135,000 Sudanese who have fled into barren remote parts of eastern Chad from fighting in their own country.

“So far, we have not received any contributions for the Chad emergency for 2004,” UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) spokesman Kris Janowski told a news briefing in Geneva. “Funds are urgently needed because we are in a race against time to relocate refugees from the volatile border area to safer sites further inside Chad.”

The urgency was underscored yesterday by the bombing of the town of Tine when at least 2 people were killed and 15 wounded, Mr. Janowski said. UNHCR needs to move up to 110,000 people from the volatile border area before the start of the rainy season in May when the sandy roads would become impassable.

Last September the agency appealed for $10.3 million for 2004 to aid some 65,000 refugees. This figure is currently being revised upwards in light of ongoing new arrivals of refugees, including some 30,000 in December and another 18,000 in January.

Mr. Janowski said the agency is “extremely concerned” about the deteriorating situation in Tine, a town that straddles the border, which was bombed several times yesterday morning.

Fighting between forces loyal to the Sudanese Government and the Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM) in the three states of Darfur in the western part of Africa’s largest country has disrupted the livelihood of an estimated 1 million people, while sending refugees pouring into Chad. Around 40 per cent of them are severely undernourished children under five.

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