It’s the rainy season in eastern Chad and that’s actually helping to reduce the violence there. Some of the violence has spilled over from the Darfur region of neighboring Sudan.
Armed groups have terrorized villages, displacing over 175,000 Chadians. The country is also temporary home for about 230,000 refugees from Darfur. There are also 45,000 refugees in southern Chad from neighboring Central African Republic.
Ann Maymann is a spokesperson for the UN refugee agency, the UNHCR. From the Chadian capital N’Djamena, she spoke to VOA English to Africa Service reporter Joe De Capua about security in eastern Chad.
“The security situation in eastern Chad is sort of improving, some improving signs the last couple of months, which is something that it does every year because of the rainy season. Because it basically prevents easy movement along the roads. So it has an automatic impact on any military activity,” she says. The rains are also helping ensure a good harvest for Chad’s farmers.
But there is a downside. “We have seen an increase in criminal activities, especially in some of the bigger urban centers like Abeche, where several humanitarian agencies have had compounds looted, especially during the night. Some involving violence. So there have been some grim episodes the last couple of months,” she says.
As for UNHCR operations, Maymann says, “The other side of the coin is that of course when you have these full wadis, which are basically pools full of water, it’s not only preventing military movements, but it’s also putting obstacles to the humanitarian agencies to easily move and gain access to the refugee camps and to the IDP (internally displaced persons) sites. So we have seen some complications and delays in not only regular visits of staff, but also transportation of…assistance and various items.”
The rainy season in eastern Chad is expected to last another month and a half.