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Chad at the crossroads

Chad lies wedged between Libya to the north and Sudan to the east, in an area where North Africa meets sub-Saharan Africa. The country has had a turbulent past and is today struggling to overcome not only the problems caused by its harsh climate, but also the economic and political challenges that every now and then ignite tensions.

In recent months, the already volatile political situation has taken a turn for the worse. In February 2008, the capital N’Djamena was gripped by violent clashes between armed opposition groups and the regular army, before an uneasy calm was restored.

Adding to the tensions is the temporary presence on Chadian soil of around 250,000 refugees from the Sudanese province of Darfur, more than 10,000 of whom have arrived since the beginning of the year. As a result of these movements of population, the humanitarian situation has deteriorated amid spiralling needs.

The Red Cross of Chad and the ICRC are working closely to assist the victims, in particular the weapon-wounded, dispersed families and displaced people, estimated at 150,000. Some of the displaced have been able to return to their homes in the east of the country, where they are provided with seed and agricultural tools to boost their self-sufficiency.

The ICRC is also continuing to provide clean drinking water to urban and rural populations and support to isolated health centres in areas affected by the conflict. Its teams are also monitoring the well-being of more than 500 prisoners captured during the clashes between government troops and armed opposition groups.

These combined efforts, which are carried out as long as security conditions permit, are helping many vulnerable Chadians gradually to get back on their feet, while awaiting better days.

Jean-François Berger
ICRC editor, Red Cross Red Crescent magazine.

This man lives in the Farchana camp, which houses some 20,000 refugees from Darfur.

A Red Cross of Chad team takes care of the children at this orphanage in Abéché.

An aerial view of Adré, which is 850 kilometres from N’Djamena and just one kilometre from Sudan.

Mobile Zero’ is a horse-drawn carriage which has been turned into a
Red Cross of Chad ambulance.

The ICRC rehabilitated this well in Borotha.

Medical evacuation of a wounded person from Dogdoré to Abéché hospital by the ICRC.

The prison in Adré district is one of the 71 places of detention regularly visited by ICRC teams.


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