Sudan seeks France help to restore relations with Chad - FM
Darfur conflict bleeds across the border into Chad - LA Times June 15, 2006 - excerpt:
Eastern Chad has become home to a dizzying collection of militants, including Sudanese janjaweed, Chadian janjaweed, Chadian rebels and Sudanese rebel groups such as the Sudanese Liberation Army. All sides have been accused of launching attacks on civilians.
"Everybody is running everywhere and everybody is attacking everybody," the UNHCR's Findlay said.
Humanitarian groups who went to eastern Chad in 2004 to assist Darfur refugees are now grappling with displaced Chadians as well.
"It's putting a lot of strain on our resources," aid Nitesh Patel, head of the World Food Program's office in Goz Beida.
In just three months, nearly 12,000 Chadians have settled on farmland about a mile outside town, not far from the Djabel camp for more than 17,000 Sudanese refugees. There is not enough water to supply the two camps and the local population, stirring tension and resentment. Women from the camps are spending up to nine hours a day fetching water in buckets.
Soon the rainy season will begin, flooding the farmland and heightening the risk of malaria and other diseases.
Aid groups had resisted providing free food and supplies to the Chad population, fearful that they would encourage them to become dependent on aid and create permanent camps. They are attempting to scatter families into small villages and offering them plots of farmland on which to support themselves.
But the situation is deteriorating. The World Food Program this month began its first major distribution of seeds and food baskets.
"We are in a situation now where if we don't give them food, they won't have anything to eat," Patel said.