The United Nations refugee agency has appealed for urgent funding to meet the needs of thousands of refugees from the Central African Republic (C.A.R.) who have sought refuge in Chad.
UNHCR spokesperson Babar Baloch warned that food shortages may have devastating effects on the refugees if funding is not obtained soon.
“The worry and real risk is that food shortages for the entire population over the next month may have devastating consequences,” Baloch said.
Late last year, clashes between armed groups Mouvement national pour la libération de la Centrafrique (MNLC) and Révolution et Justice (RJ) in north-west CAR forced more than 70,000 people from their homes.
“Since last December, more than 15 Central Africans refugees have been killed on both sides of the border and at least 67 have suffered sexual and gender based violence while trying to go back to CAR to gather food and their scarce resources in exile,” Baloch added.
The UNHCR said it was building an emergency shelter in the camps and villages to host them, while also working with the authorities, partners and donors on a relocation plan.
Southern Chad is already hosting some 43,000 Central African refugees and 45,000 Chadian returnees from CAR, and is struggling to cope with an additional influx of 22,180.