The UN refugee agency, the UNHCR, is opening a new camp in Sudan’s Darfur region. But this one is not for displaced Darfurians, but rather thousands of refugees from Chad. The new camp is located about 95 kilometers south of El Geneina, which is the capital of West Darfur State.
Kitty McKenzie is a spokesperson for the UNHCR. From Nairobi, she spoke to English to Africa Joe De Capua about the reason for the new camp. “There’s been a lot of fighting on the border between and Sudan. And since the beginning of this year, some 13,000 Chadians have fled the battles and have moved into Sudan. But they were camping just along the border and they weren’t much safer inside Sudan than they had been in Chad. And UNHCR regulations call for refugee camps to be located at least 50 kilometers away from an international border. So, we’ve just moved them inside West Darfur so they we can better take care of them, so they’ll be safer away from the incursions. It also makes it easier for us when they’re gathered in one place,” she says.
While 13,000 Chadians have crossed the border since January, not all will be going to the new camp. McKenzie says, “This particular camp will hold about 10,000. Of the 13,000 we already know about not all of them are going to want to move to the camp because some of them…are staying mostly with members of the same tribe and relatives. And they haven’t indicated they want to move into a camp.”