Darfur refugees in Chad struggle for shelter as rainy season starts

UN estimates say more than 300,000 people fled from Darfur to Chad since fighting began in Sudan

A Sudanese man, who fled the conflict in Geneina, in Sudan's Darfur region, at a makeshift shelter in Chad. Reuters
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Thousands of refugees fleeing Darfur to neighbouring Chad to escape fighting and ethnically targeted attacks in Sudan's western region are struggling to find basic shelter and supplies as heavy rain and wind batter makeshift camps.

The UN estimates that more than 300,000 fled from Darfur to Chad since April 15, when fighting between the army and paramilitary Rapid Support Forces broke out in Khartoum.

Islam, one of the 33,000 refugees in the camp in Chad's Ourang, pleaded for shelter from the rain as she stood in front of ruined tents.

“Please provide us with a shelter as soon as possible. This is humiliating. Anyone in here lost three or four people and came here with nothing to eat or drink,” she said as tears streamed down her face.

Some now stay in flimsy tarpaulin tents brought down easily by the rain, others bundle themselves in blankets to stay warm.

The onset of the rainy season makes it harder for aid agencies operating in Chad to provide for refugees arriving on foot or donkey carts, with each flare of clashes prompting more to cross the border.

A recent attack on the West Darfur town on Sirba killed more than 200 people and forced thousands more to flee, according to the Darfur Bar Association.

Those who fled Darfur reported shortages of food, electricity, and water supply amid violence in residential areas.

“It was not safe to move around, there was nothing to eat in the market. So we came with our kids and came here and we found that the road is worse,” Mohamed Ibrahim told Reuters.

Updated: August 01, 2023, 7:31 AM