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Refugees From CAR Continue to Flee Into Chad


The U.N. High Commission for Refugees reports refugees continue to flee into Chad from the Central African Republic. It says the refugees are arriving in small groups in the village of Daha, in southeastern Chad and in another area along the border.

The United Nations High Commission for Refugees says there is no massive influx of refugees from the Central African Republic into Chad. Rather, it is a steady daily stream of people, which the U.N. refugee agency says raises concerns of new confrontations between rebel groups and the CAR army.

The UNHCR already is caring for 56,000 refugees from the Central African Republic in five camps in southern Chad. In addition, UNHCR spokesman Ron Redmond, tells VOA, it is caring for some 17,000 new arrivals, staying in six spontaneous sites, which have sprung up along the border.

"We believe that they would indeed be better off in camps. But, they believe that they are going to be able to go home fairly soon," said Redmond. "And, so quite understandably they want to remain along the border in these spontaneous sites. In normal situations, UNHCR prefers to have refugees housed at least 50 kilometers and sometimes much farther away from insecure borders."

Redmond says the UNHCR and other aid agencies would be in a better position to assist the refugees if they were staying in a more accessible area. He says the border region is very remote. Roads are bad.

Redmond says the UNHCR is working against the clock to get food, water and other relief supplies pre-positioned in the refugee sites before the rains start in mid-June.

"Traveling to that region from our main operation center in Abeche is something like 700 kilometers," he added. "So, it is a long way. It can take three, three and a half days or longer to make this journey. Getting stuff down there is not easy, but we are confident we are going to get enough supplies in there to tide them through the rainy season."

Redmond says aid workers in this part of Chad provide protection and emergency assistance. He says they are continuing to distribute shelter material and household items to all newly arrived families, mostly women and small children.

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