N'Djamena, Chad, 3 May 2023 — Following intense violence in Sudan since 15 April, the International Rescue Committee (IRC) is warning about the massive humanitarian needs for 20,000 refugees that have fled into Chad and the need for more support for such refugee hosting communities. Experts predict up to 100,000 people might flee into Chad which already hosts almost half a million refugees.
Aleksandra Roulet-Cimpric, IRC Chad Country Director said:
“The humanitarian situation for refugees arriving in Chad from Sudan is catastrophic - people’s needs are huge and are not being met. People are in need of food, shelter and clean water. It is extremely hot and there is an acute lack of access to clean water. They are arriving from Sudan severely traumatised and have been telling us that they have travelled from just over the border where they crossed a dry river. In the past few days, further insecurity and violence has meant people from further afield have not been able to make their way into Chad.
“So far, approximately 20,000 people have arrived since 15 April and there is not enough shelter. People, mainly women and children, are taking shelter under trees - this leaves them particularly at risk of exploitation and abuse.”
IRC has been providing drinking water to people who have arrived severely dehydrated and has set up a mobile health clinic to attend to the vast health needs of the arriving population. IRC will continue to scale up WASH (including hygiene and sanitation), health and protection support in the coming days.
Chad has been generously welcoming Sudanese refugees for decades - before the current escalation of violence, 400,000 refugees from Sudan were being hosted in Chad, but Chad itself is a low-income, crisis-affected country. Chad’s ability to maintain this generous refuge for Sudanese civilians fleeing the crisis will depend on whether it receives adequate economic support. The IRC is calling for greater support for refugee-hosting communities, including in Chad. In the immediate term, this means fully funding the Humanitarian Response Plan for Chad, which is currently 97% underfunded. In the medium to long term, the World Bank should scale up its IDA Window for Host Communities and Refugees.
The IRC's work in Chad
The IRC has delivered vital humanitarian programming in Chad since 2004 in response to the refugee crisis from neighbouring Darfur. Today the IRC works across the country to deliver integrated interventions in health, including reproductive health, nutrition and water and sanitation; women’s protection and empowerment, with a focus on fighting against gender-based violence; and economic recovery, with an emphasis on cash transfer and income-generating activities.