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Aiding Darfur Refugees in Chad

  • June 19, 2007

As the crisis in Darfur rages on, AmeriCares is continuing to act on its commitment to the Sudanese refugees by expanding aid into neighboring Chad, where tens of thousands of people fleeing from Darfur seek shelter and safety, stretching the capacity of the existing humanitarian efforts. 

To address the critical health issues resulting from the spillover into Chad, AmeriCares is collaborating with its on-the-ground partner, the International Medical Corps (IMC), to fund the Gaga Refugee Camp Emergency Health Care Project.  The goal of this project is to provide immediate assistance to the roughly 20,000 Sudanese refugees and Chadians in and around the camp, by providing them access to primary health care services and improving the camp’s overall health infrastructure.  Gaga Refugee Camp has been in existence since 2004 and was designed to host 5,000 refugees.  The population has now swelled to 14,000 and is still growing.

“We have committed to helping the people caught up in the crisis in Darfur as long as it remains unresolved,”   said Curt Welling, president and CEO of AmeriCares.  “By collaborating to address the health care issues facing the refugees spilling into Chad, we continue to honor that promise.”

When IMC assumed management of the Gaga Refugee Camp in November 2006, the health care infrastructure was in extremely poor condition.  Overcrowding has complicated the already limited sanitation and health services, which makes the people highly vulnerable to illness and disease outbreaks.  In addition, there is a high incidence of malnutrition and children have not been able to get full vaccinations. 

With the AmeriCares grant, IMC will be able to improve access to primary health services for those living in the camp.  They will now be given treatments for basic clinical needs, mental illnesses and psychosocial challenges as well as severe and moderate malnutrition.  With these improvements, IMC hopes to reduce the morbidity and mortality rate among this war-affected population.  IMC has been providing similar health care assistance to the Sudanese refugees and Chadian nationals through their programs in other camps in the region since 2004.

Whether providing aid to those in relief camps in Darfur or in neighboring Chad, AmeriCares has also responded to the needs of those caught up in this ongoing conflict since 2004.  The most recent airlift took place earlier this year when AmeriCares airlifted 28 tons of medicines and supplies to three locations in North, South and West Darfur to treat more than 400,000 Sudanese living in relief camps.