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UNHCR and WFP Warehouses Looted in eastern Chad

The eastern Chad town of Abeche was reported quiet Monday following weekend fighting between government and rebel forces.

However, during that violence, there was wide scale looting of food warehouses belonging to the world food program and the UN refugee agency, the UNHCR. The food and non-food items were destined for hundreds of thousands of refugees from Darfur.

Astrid Van Genderen Stort is a spokesperson for the UN refugee agency. From Geneva, she spoke to VOA English to Africa Service reporter Joe De Capua.

“The situation of course has been very difficult over the weekend, in particular in Abeche, which had been taken over for a day by rebels. And then the next day the military came back in. But during the transition period between the two, our warehouses were severely looted. Basically we lost, we think now, about 80 percent of our non-food items, which had been stored in these warehouses. (They) used to contain relief items: tents, plastic sheets, stoves kitchen sets, medical supplies, spare parts for vehicles, etc,” she says.

The UN agencies have appealed for a return of the looted items. A small amount has been returned or appeared on streets to be sold. The looted items are worth about $1.3 million.

Van Genderen Stort says she expects the supplies will have to be replenished from elsewhere.