News

Aid Workers Withdrawn From Eastern Chad Following Attacks

The U.N. refugee agency reports more than 40 staff and aid workers from private organizations have been withdrawn from the Eastern Chad town of Guereda following a series of armed attacks in the area.   The aid workers have been relocated to the town of Abeche, where UNHCR manages 12 refugee camps for 240,000 refugees from Sudan's conflict-ridden province of Darfur.  Lisa Schlein reports for VOA from UNHCR headquarters in Geneva.

The worst incidents occurred on Wednesday and Thursday when suspected rebels entered the UNHCR compound in Guereda.  They stole five vehicles at gunpoint. 

U.N. refugee spokesman, William Spindler, says the agency is upset that it has been forced to relocate its staff out of the area.  But, he says, it had no other choice.

"The whole region is very volatile and only last December, we lost a staff member in southern Chad.  So, we really need to do everything we can to ensure the safety of our staff," said Mr. Spindler.

Spindler says this is not the first time the UNHCR has had to reduce its presence in the region.  He says there have been similar situations in the past.  He says the agency has made provisions for the refugees.

"Some of the remaining staff in Guereda went to the two refugee camps yesterday to distribute food and water and provide health care," he added.  "They reported that the refugees are very worried about the deteriorating security situation.  Tensions between opposition forces and the Chadian National Army have been mounting since Monday, leading to increased security incidents, especially in Guereda, which lies about 165 kilometers northeast of Abeche.  There are also reports of opposition groups moving towards the capital, N'Djamena, where our staff have been advised to stay at home." 

Further complicating the situation, Spindler says some 2,000 Sudanese refugees from southwest Darfur arrived in Chad a few days ago and nearly 6,000 refugees from the Central African Republic have arrived in several border villages in southern Chad over the past few weeks.

The UNHCR cares for an estimated 240,000 refugees from Darfur in 12 sprawling camps and 180,000 internally displaced Chadians in the east. 

Spindler says the camps have been officially handed over to refugee leaders to manage until the aid workers are able to return and resume humanitarian operations.

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs