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2014 UNHCR country operations profile - Chad

| Overview |

Working environment

  • In 2013, Chad faced two simultaneous refugee emergencies with some 10,000 refugees from the Central African Republic (CAR), and over 30,000 Sudanese refugees from West Darfur. The new refugees add to the sizeable Sudanese refugee population already living in 12 camps in eastern Chad and the Central African refugees in five camps in the south and brought the total number of Sudanese refugees to 348,528 and the total number of CAR refugees to some 74,131 by 31 August 2013. The influx of refugees from Sudan required a new camp in Abgadam, a remote area in eastern Chad, with ample land to accommodate their accompanying livestock, identified by the Government. Moreover, events in northern Nigeria forced 553 refugees to seek protection in western Chad by the end of August 2013. In addition, there are more than 650 refugees and asylum-seekers in the city of N'Djamena.

  • Chad continues its open-door policy towards refugees, and there have been no reported cases of refoulement to date.

  • UNHCR is also providing limited protection monitoring for some 85,000 IDPs who have opted for local integration in their respective areas of displacement. Following an official directive from the Government of Chad ending the IDP situation as of 2012, UNHCR plans to discontinue its assistance to IDPs in 2014.

  • While the political and security situation in Chad remains stable, conditions in the neighboring countries of Sudan, the CAR and, to a lesser extent, Nigeria are at risk of further decline. In 2014, UNHCR expects that refugees will continue to arrive from the CAR, Sudan and possibly Nigeria.

  • In 2014, UNHCR aims to facilitate the voluntary repatriation of up to 548 remaining Chadian refugees in Cameroon and up to 1,000 in Gabon.

  • The Government of Chad has agreed to continue providing protection for humanitarian workers and refugees under the Détachement pour la Protection des Humanitaires et des Réfugiés (DPHR) which will replace the former Détachement Intégré de Sécurité.

  • It is expected that the Chadian Government will continue to grant international protection to refugees in 2014 and 2015, as it has done since the refugee crises in Sudan and the CAR began in 2003. It is hoped that the Government will grant access to more arable land for refugees, and continue to allow refugees to benefit from national health and education services.

People of concern

The main groups of people of concern planned for in 2014 and 2015 under the Chad operation are: Sudanese refugees who fled conflict in Darfur in 2003 and the newly-arrived population who fled inter-ethnic clashes in Western Darfur; Central African refugees who sought asylum due to political instability in their country in 2003 and who have continued to arrive in Chad since that time; and urban refugees and asylum-seekers, mainly from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Sudan and the CAR. There is also a small population of Nigerians who arrived in July and August 2013 and are living among local communities in the Lake Chad area.

Planning figures

UNHCR 2014 planning figures for Chad
TYPE OF POPULATION ORIGIN Dec 2013 Dec 2014 Dec 2015
Total in country of whom assisted
Total in country of whom assisted
Total in country of whom assisted
Total 539,590 521,590 483,850 466,850 497,540 481,540
Refugees Central African Rep. 86,000 78,000 98,000 91,000 100,000 93,000
Nigeria 550 550 1,000 1,000 1,500 1,500
Sudan 362,000 352,000 383,000 373,000 394,000 385,000
Various 410 410 500 500 600 600
Asylum-seekers Central African Rep. 60 60 100 100 150 150
Dem. Rep. of the Congo 110 110 120 120 130 130
Sudan 10 10 20 20 20 20
Various 90 90 110 110 140 140
Returnee arrivals during year (ex-refugees) Chad 360 360 1,000 1,000 1,000 1,000
Internally displaced people Chad 90,000 90,000 - - - -

| Response |

Needs and strategies

In 2014, UNHCR aims to strengthen the capacity of national authorities to guarantee a favourable protection environment for refugees in Chad. The Office will work with the Commission Nationale d'Accueil, de Réinsertion des Réfugiés et des Rapatriés (CNARR) and national authorities to encourage the adoption of the drafted refugee law, to increase the issuance of civil status documentation, including birth certificates for Sudanese refugee children, and to improve registration and verification of the refugee population.

Basic life-saving activities, including the provision of water, food, shelter, health and sanitation services will continue for Sudanese and CAR refugees. Given the protracted situation for the majority of refugees in Chad, enhancing livelihood opportunities will continue to be a key activity in 2014 in close cooperation with other UN agencies, development organizations and the Government. UNHCR will focus on increasing access to education for out-of-school children, particularly girls, as well as improving the quality of education provided.

The needs for the newly-arrived Sudanese refugees in Abgadam camp remain vast. UNHCR and partners will continue to develop the site, consolidating achievements in water, sanitation, hygiene, and health, to ensure that at least the minimum standards are met. Education activities, and support for agricultural activities and refugees' livestock will continue to be a priority, especially since newly-arrived refugees from Sudan are largely pastoral and in need of land.

The Office will also ensure that newly-arrived refugees from the CAR receive protection and life-saving assistance, facilitating their integration in the existing camps or in host villages.

In 2013, the Office piloted a strategy in southern Chad, to provide assistance to newly-arrived refugees as well as their host communities to promote the self-reliance of refugees, reduce dependency and strengthen local services and capacity, especially in the areas of water, sanitation, health and education. In 2014, UNHCR will further develop this approach to benefit refugee populations in other parts of the country.

For urban refugees and asylum-seekers, the focus will be on improving integration into national education, health and basic social services programmes. Support for livelihoods activities will continue into 2014.

Given that it is unlikely that conditions in the countries of origin (Sudan and CAR) will improve for voluntary return to occur in 2014, UNHCR will pursue resettlement for Sudanese and Central African refugees. Activities to enhance coexistence with communities will also continue.

| Implementation |


UNHCR's main governmental partner in Chad will continue to be the Ministry of the Interior, through CNARR. UNHCR will work with key ministries on the adoption and implementation of relevant legislation frameworks for refugees. All relevant ministries will be involved in the design and implementation of activities and projects, with a view to gradually integrating refugees into national programmes. Partnerships with national and international NGOs will continue, reinforcing joint programmes for refugees and asylum-seekers in the country. UNHCR will work closely with other UN agencies and partner organizations to ensure the smooth delivery of assistance to refugees.

2014 UNHCR partners in Chad
Implementing partners
Government agencies: Commission Nationale pour l'Accueil et la Réinsertion des Réfugiés et des Rapatriés
NGOs: Associazione di Cooperazione Rurale in Africa e America Latina, Association pour le Développement Economique et Social de Kobe, African Initiative for Relief and Development, Association pour la Promotion des Libertés Fondamentales au Tchad, Bureau d'Appui Santé et Environnement, CARE (Cooperative for Assistance and Relief Everywhere), Christian Outreach for Relief and Development, Croix-Rouge du Tchad, Centre de Support en Santé Internationale, Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, International Medical Corps, International Rescue Committee, Jesuit Refugee Service, Lutheran World Federation-Action by Churches Together, Refugee Education Trust, Secours Catholique pour le Développement
Operational partners
Government agencies: Ministries of Education (Primary, Secondary and Tertiary), Ministry for Environment, Ministry for Pastoral Development, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Human Rights, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Planning, Ministry of Public Health, Ministry of Social Affairs, Ministry of Water Resources, The Ministry of the Interior and Public Security, through the Commission Nationale d'Accueil et de Réinsertion des Réfugiés et des Rapatriés (CNARR)
NGOs: Action Contre la Faim, Agence Française de Développement, Christian Children's Fund, HELP (Hilfe zur Selbsthilfe e.V.) - Germany, Intermón Oxfam, Médecins sans Frontières - Netherlands and France

| Financial information |

The needs of the refugee populations in Chad have steadily increased since 2003 due to natural population growth, and new influxes of refugees, particularly in 2013. The financial requirements for UNHCR's operation in Chad decreased significantly in 2012 owing to competing crises elsewhere in the world and then increased slightly with the revised 2013 budget to cope with the new emergencies. The deterioration of the regional security environment and the arrival of over 40,500 new refugees from Sudan, the CAR and Nigeria in 2013, have made the allocation of additional resources to Chad imperative, with many basic needs still unmet. The 2014 financial requirements to cover the needs of refugees and asylum-seekers in Chad are set at USD 197.1 million.

Source: UNHCR Global Appeal 2014-2105



Statistical Snapshot*
* As at January 2014
  1. Country or territory of asylum or residence. In the absence of Government estimates, UNHCR has estimated the refugee population in most industrialized countries based on 10 years of asylum-seekers recognition.
  2. Persons recognized as refugees under the 1951 UN Convention/1967 Protocol, the 1969 OAU Convention, in accordance with the UNHCR Statute, persons granted a complementary form of protection and those granted temporary protection. It also includes persons in a refugee-like situation whose status has not yet been verified.
  3. Persons whose application for asylum or refugee status is pending at any stage in the procedure.
  4. Refugees who have returned to their place of origin during the first six months of 2013. Source: Country of origin and asylum.
  5. Persons who are displaced within their country and to whom UNHCR extends protection and/or assistance. It also includes persons who are in an IDP-like situation.
  6. IDPs protected/assisted by UNHCR who have returned to their place of origin during the first six months of 2013.
  7. Refers to persons under UNHCR's statelessness mandate.
  8. Persons of concern to UNHCR not included in the previous columns but to whom UNHCR extends protection and/or assistance.
  9. The category of people in a refugee-like situation is descriptive in nature and includes groups of people who are outside their country of origin and who face protection risks similar to those of refugees, but for whom refugee status has, for practical or other reasons, not been ascertained.
The data are generally provided by Governments, based on their own definitions and methods of data collection.
A dash (-) indicates that the value is zero, not available or not applicable.

Source: UNHCR/Governments.
Compiled by: UNHCR, FICSS.
Residing in Chad [1]
Refugees [2] 434,479
Asylum Seekers [3] 310
Returned Refugees [4] 387
Internally Displaced Persons (IDPS) [5] 19,791
Returned IDPs [6] 0
Stateless Persons [7] 0
Various [8] 0
Total Population of Concern 454,967
Originating from Chad [1]
Refugees [2] 48,644
Asylum Seekers [3] 3,857
Returned Refugees [4] 387
Internally Displaced Persons (IDPS) [5] 19,791
Returned IDPs [6] 0
Various [8] 0
Total Population of Concern 72,679

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Crisis in the Central African Republic

Little has been reported about the humanitarian crisis in the northern part of the Central African Republic (CAR), where at least 295,000 people have been forced out of their homes since mid-2005. An estimated 197,000 are internally displaced, while 98,000 have fled to Chad, Cameroon or Sudan. They are the victims of fighting between rebel groups and government forces.

Many of the internally displaced live in the bush close to their villages. They build shelters from hay, grow vegetables and even start bush schools for their children. But access to clean water and health care remains a huge problem. Many children suffer from diarrhoea and malaria but their parents are too scared to take them to hospitals or clinics for treatment.

Cattle herders in northern CAR are menaced by the zaraguina, bandits who kidnap children for ransom. The villagers must sell off their livestock to pay.

Posted on 21 February 2008

Crisis in the Central African Republic

Battling the Elements in Chad

More than 180,000 Sudanese refugees have fled violence in Sudan's Darfur region, crossing the border to the remote desert of eastern Chad.

It is one of the most inhospitable environments UNHCR has ever had to work in. Vast distances, extremely poor road conditions, scorching daytime temperatures, sandstorms, the scarcity of vegetation and firewood, and severe shortages of drinkable water have been major challenges since the beginning of the operation. Now, heavy seasonal rains are falling, cutting off the few usable roads, flooding areas where refugees had set up makeshift shelters, and delaying the delivery of relief supplies.

Despite the enormous environmental challenges, UNHCR has so far managed to establish nine camps and relocate the vast majority of the refugees who are willing to move from the volatile border.

Battling the Elements in Chad

Chad: Relocation from the Border to Refugee Camps

Since fighting broke out in Sudan's western region of Darfur last year, more than 110,000 Sudanese refugees have fled into Chad. They are scattered along a 600-km stretch of desert borderland under a scorching sun during the day and freezing temperatures during the night.

Access to these refugees in this inhospitable region is difficult. Staff of the UN refugee agency drive for days to locate them. Bombing in the border zone and cross-border raids by militia from Sudan put the refugees at risk and underscore the urgent need to move them to camps in the interior. In addition, the approach of the rainy season in May will make the sandy roads impassable. Aid workers are racing against time in an attempt bring emergency relief to these refugees.

Chad: Relocation from the Border to Refugee Camps

Portraits of Darfur's Refugees

Nearly 200,000 refugees, the majority of them women and children, have fled across the border from Sudan into Chad since the outbreak of conflict in Sudan's Darfur region in March 2003. The refugees have left behind their homes and often loved ones in Darfur, where militias have reportedly killed and raped villagers, looted and burned houses and possessions and driven people from their homes.

Most of the refugees in eastern Chad are sheltered in 11 camps established by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, where they receive humanitarian aid, shelter, water and basic services.

Life in the camps is not easy in the desert environment of eastern Chad, where water and firewood are extremely scarce. Sandstorms are a regular feature during the dry months and torrential rains flood the landscape in the wet season.

Yet in the faces of the refugees, dignity and hope remain in spite of the hardships and the violence they have suffered.

Portraits of Darfur's Refugees

Camp Life in Eastern Chad

Faced with nearly 200,000 Sudanese refugees from Darfur fleeing into the barren desert of eastern Chad, the UN refugee agency has essentially had to build small villages – including shelter, latrines, water supply and basic services – to accommodate the refugees and help them survive in a hostile natural environment with scarce local resources. The 11 camps set up so far shelter more than 166,000 refugees from Darfur.

While much work still needs to be done, especially to find sufficient water in the arid region, life in the camps has reached a certain level of normalcy, with schools and activities starting up and humanitarian aid regularly distributed to the residents. Meanwhile, UNHCR continues to improve services and living conditions in the existing camps and is working to set up new camps to take in more refugees from the ongoing violence in Darfur.

Camp Life in Eastern Chad

Internally Displaced in Chad

In scenes of devastation similar to the carnage across the border in Darfur, some 20 villages in eastern Chad have been attacked, looted, burned and emptied by roving armed groups since 4 November. Hundreds of people have been killed, many more wounded and at least 15,000 displaced from their homes.

Some 7,000 people have gathered near Goz Beida town, seeking shelter under trees or wherever they can find it. As soon as security permits, UNHCR will distribute relief items. The UN refugee agency has already provided newly arrived IDPs at Habila camp with plastic sheeting, mats, blankets and medicine. The agency is scouting for a temporary site for the new arrivals and in the meantime will increase the number of water points in Habila camp.

The deteriorating security situation in the region and the effect it might have on UNHCR's operation to help the refugees and displaced people, is of extreme concern. There are 90,000 displaced people in Chad, as well as 218,000 refugees from Darfur in 12 camps in eastern Chad.

Posted on 30 November 2006

Internally Displaced in Chad

Chad: Education in Exile

UNHCR joins forces with the Ministry of Education and NGO partners to improve education for Sudanese refugees in Chad.

The ongoing violence in Sudan's western Darfur region has uprooted two million Sudanese inside the country and driven some 230,000 more over the border into 12 refugee camps in eastern Chad.

Although enrolment in the camp schools in Chad is high, attendance is inconsistent. A shortage of qualified teachers and lack of school supplies and furniture make it difficult to keep schools running. In addition, many children are overwhelmed by household chores, while others leave school to work for local Chadian families. Girls' attendance is less regular, especially after marriage, which usually occurs by the age of 12 or 13. For boys and young men, attending school decreases the possibility of recruitment by various armed groups operating in the area.

UNHCR and its partners continue to provide training and salaries for teachers in all 12 refugee camps, ensuring a quality education for refugee children. NGO partners maintain schools and supply uniforms to needy students. And UNICEF is providing books, note pads and stationary. In August 2007 UNHCR, UNICEF and Chad's Ministry of Education joined forces to access and improve the state of education for Sudanese uprooted by conflict in Darfur.

UNHCR's ninemillion campaign aims to provide a healthy and safe learning environment for nine million refugee children by 2010.

Chad: Education in Exile

Chad Mission Photo Gallery

Chad Mission Photo Gallery

Chad's other refugee crisis

While attention focuses on the Darfuris in eastern Chad, another refugee crisis unfolds in southern Chad.

A second refugee crisis has been quietly unfolding in the south of Chad for the past few years, getting little attention from the media and the international community. Some 60,000 refugees from the Central African Republic (CAR) are hosted there in five camps and receive regular assistance from UNHCR. But funding for aid and reintegration projects remains low. Refugees have been fleeing fighting between rebel groups and governmental forces in northern CAR. 17,000 new refugees have arrived from northern CAR to south-eastern Chad since the beginning of 2009.

Chad's other refugee crisis

Darfuri Refugees in Chad: No end in Sight

More than six years after the beginning of the conflict in Sudan's Darfur region, more than a quarter-of-a-million refugees remain displaced in neighbouring Chad. Most of the refugees are women and children and many are still traumatized after fleeing across the border after losing almost everything in land and air raids on their villages.

Families saw their villages being burned, their relatives being killed and their livestock being stolen. Women and girls have been victims of rape, abuse and humiliation, and many have been ostracized by their own communities as a result.

The bulk of the refugees live in 12 camps run by UNHCR in the arid reaches of eastern Chad, where natural resources such as water and firewood are scarce. They have been able to resume their lives in relative peace, but all hope one day to return to Darfur, where hundreds of thousands of their compatriots are internally displaced.

In eastern Chad, UNHCR and other agencies are helping to take care of 180,000 internally displaced Chadians, who fled inter-ethnic clashes in 2006-2007. Some families are starting to return to their villages of origin only now.

Darfuri Refugees in Chad: No end in Sight

Food cuts in Chad camps expose refugee women and children to exploitation, abuse

A funding shortfall has forced the World Food Programme (WFP) to cut food rations in refugee camps in eastern Chad by up to 60 per cent. As a result, Sudanese refugees in 13 camps in the east now receive about 850 calories per day, down from the minimum ration of 2,100 calories daily they used to get. The refugees are finding it difficult to cope. Clinics in the area report a significant spike in malnutrition cases, with rates as high as 19.5 per cent in Am Nabak camp.

WFP needs to raise US$ 186 million to maintain feeding programmes for refugees in Africa through the end of the year. Additionally, UNHCR is urgently seeking contributions towards the US$ 78 million it has budgeted this year for food security and nutrition programmes serving refugees in Africa.

In the meantime, the refugees experiencing ration cuts have few options. Poor soil quality, dry conditions and little access to water mean they can't plant supplemental crops as refugees in the less arid south of Chad are able to do. To try to cope, many refugee women in eastern Chad are leaving the camps in search of work in surrounding towns. They clean houses, do laundry, fetch water and firewood and work as construction labourers. Even so, they earn very little and often depend on each other for support. In the town of Iriba, for example, some 50 refugee women sleep rough each night under a tree and share their some of their meagre earnings to pay for a daily, communal meal.

They are also subject to exploitation. Sometimes, their temporary employers refuse to pay them at the end of the day. And some women and girls have resorted to prostitution to earn money to feed their families.

Ration cuts can have an impact far beyond health, reverberating through the entire community. It is not uncommon for children to be pulled out of school on market days in order to work. Many refugees use a portion of their food rations to barter for other essentials, or to get cash to pay school fees or buy supplies for their children. Small business owners like butchers, hairdressers and tailors - some of them refugees - also feel the pinch.

WFP supplies food to some 240,500 Sudanese refugees in the camps of eastern Chad. Many have been in exile for years and, because of their limited opportunities for self-sufficiency, remain almost totally dependent on outside help. The ration cuts have made an already difficult situation much worse for refugees who were already struggling.

Food cuts in Chad camps expose refugee women and children to exploitation, abuse

New refugees from Central African Republic struggle with ration cuts in southern Chad

Since January 2014, a funding shortfall has forced the World Food Programme (WFP) to cut food rations by 60 per cent in refugee camps in southern Chad. The reduction comes as thousands of refugees from Central African Republic (CAR) continue to arrive in the south - more than 14,000 of them since the beginning of 2014. Many arrive sick, malnourished and exhausted after walking for months in the bush with little food or water. They join some 90,000 other CAR refugees already in the south - some of them for years.

The earlier refugees have been able to gain some degree of self-reliance through agriculture or employment, thus making up for some of the food cuts. But the new arrivals, fleeing the latest round of violence in their homeland, are facing a much harsher reality. And many of them - particularly children - will struggle to survive because WFP has also been forced cut the supplemental feeding programmes used to treat people trying to recover from malnutrition.

WFP needs to raise US$ 186 million to maintain feeding programmes for refugees in Africa through the end of the year. Additionally, UNHCR is urgently seeking contributions towards the US$ 78 million it has budgeted this year for food security and nutrition programmes serving refugees in Africa.

Photojournalist Corentin Fohlen and UNHCR Public Information Officer Céline Schmitt visited CAR refugees in southern Chad to document their plight and how they're trying to cope.

New refugees from Central African Republic struggle with ration cuts in southern Chad

Canada: Light Years Ahead
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Canada: Light Years Ahead

With help from the Government of Canada, lives of refugees in Chad and Ethiopia have been transformed through the Light Years Ahead project.

Chad: Health for allPlay video

Chad: Health for all

Refugees in southern Chad receive health care under a European Union-funded programme. A new clinic tackles malaria, malnutrition, respiratory infections and more.
Chad: Changing LivesPlay video

Chad: Changing Lives

Refugees in southern Chad's Amboko Camp grow vegetables under an income-generation programme funded by the European Union.
Chad: Class ActPlay video

Chad: Class Act

Funding from the European Union helps refugee children in southern Chad's Camp Amboko go to school.
Life in ChadPlay video

Life in Chad

Photographer Frederic Noy looks at the lives of Sudanese refugees living in protracted exile in Chad.
Chad: Influx from Central African RepublicPlay video

Chad: Influx from Central African Republic

The conflict in Central African Republic (CAR) receives far less media attention than that in Darfur, but the effects are much the same. More than 17,000 people have crossed into Chad since January, bringing the total number of CAR refugees to almost 70,000.
Chad: Environmental ChallengesPlay video

Chad: Environmental Challenges

The search for water and firewood is a daily trial for the 250,000 Sudanese refugees from Darfur in eastern Chad. The UN has found ways to alleviate the problems.
Violence In Eastern ChadPlay video

Violence In Eastern Chad

In eastern Chad, continued violence threatens the UN refugee agency's fragile humanitarian lifeline to hundreds of thousands of Sudanese refugees and tens of thousands of displaced Chadians.
Goodwill Ambassador Angelina Jolie Returns to Eastern ChadPlay video

Goodwill Ambassador Angelina Jolie Returns to Eastern Chad

Angelina Jolie braved a violent sandstorm to visit refugees in eastern Chad. There, she was able to see how the security situation has deteriorated in the region since she last visited about three years ago.