Sudanese seek shelter in Chad following intense conflict

Image courtesy of Bangkok Post

In Koufroun, Chad, hundreds of Sudanese people, mostly women and children, seek refuge every day, crossing a small, dry stream on donkeys, horses, carts, or even by foot. As of today, the United Nations refugee agency UNCHR reports that around 20,000 individuals have found shelter in a makeshift camp at this Chadian border village. Various UN agencies are managing the influx.

Located just a few hundred metres from the West Darfur border, Koufroun bears witness to the terrible impact of the conflict ravaging Sudan, with its capital Khartoum also severely affected. The majority of those seeking refuge have fled from the Sudanese town of Tendelti, 20 kilometres away, which has been the centre of violent confrontations between forces led by army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) under the command of Mohamed Hamdan Daglo.

Many refugees arrive empty-handed, while others carry essential belongings through the overwhelming Sahelian heat. They search for shelter under large but scarce acacia trees where makeshift camps have been established by humanitarian workers and earlier arrivals.

Mahamat Hassan Hamad, a 52 years old tailor, recounts his harrowing escape from Tendelti with his wife and 11 children. His family now seeks shelter under a single tree. For many like Hamad, survival is dependent on the assistance of local residents, with numerous refugees still awaiting UNCHR aid.

The area lies 800km east of N’Djamena, the Chadian capital, and the mounting demand for help leaves many humanitarian workers struggling to cope. UNICEF has sourced an emergency stockpile to provide kits containing cooking utensils, blankets, and mats, but many fear the humanitarian situation in Koufroun could rapidly become catastrophic. Additional support will be required from donors, with UNCHR’s head of operations in eastern Chad, Jean-Paul Habamungu, pointing out that Chad was already hosting half a million Sudanese refugees before the most recent conflict.

Aid workers anticipate that thousands more could arrive in Koufroun and other parts of Chad, as desperate people continue to make the dangerous journey across the porous 1,300km border, reports Bangkok Post.

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With a Bachelor's Degree in English, Jenn has plenty of experience writing and editing on different topics. After spending many years teaching English in Thailand, Jenn has come to love writing about Thai culture and the experience of being an ex-pat in Thailand. During long holidays, she travels to North of Thailand just to have Khao Soi!