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Aid Workers Withdrawn From Eastern Chad Following Attacks

The U.N. refugee agency reports more than 40 staff and aid workers from private organizations have been withdrawn from the Eastern Chad town of Guereda following a series of armed attacks in the area.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.
Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugeesi
X
Carolyn Weaver
July 06, 2015 6:47 PM
In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugees

In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Rice Farmers Frustrated As Drought Grips Thailand

A severe drought in Thailand is limiting the growing season of the country’s important rice crop. Farmers are blaming the government for not doing more to protect a key export. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Video

Video 'From This Day Forward' Reveals Difficult Journey of Transgender Parent

In her documentary, "From This Day Forward", filmmaker Sharon Shattuck reveals the personal journey of her transgender father, as he told his family that he always felt he was a woman inside and decided to live as one. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Floodwaters Threaten Iconic American Home

The Farnsworth House in the Midwest State of Illinois is one of the most iconic homes in America. Thousands of tourists visit the site every year. Its location near a river inspired the design of the house, but, as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, that very location is now threatening the existence of this National Historic Landmark.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.

VOA Blogs