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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
05NDJAMENA1624
2005-11-02 16:52:00
UNCLASSIFIED
Embassy Ndjamena
Cable title:  

CENTRAL AFRICAN REFUGEES: PRM VISITS CAMPS IN

Tags:   PREF  PHUM  PGOV  CD  SU  CZ 
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This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

021652Z Nov 05

ACTION AF-00    

INFO  LOG-00   NP-00    AID-00   CA-00    CIAE-00  INL-00   DODE-00  
      DOEE-00  DS-00    MEDE-00  EAP-00   EUR-00   FBIE-00  UTED-00  
      VCI-00   FDRE-01  H-00     TEDE-00  INR-00   IO-00    LAB-01   
      L-00     M-00     AC-00    VCIE-00  NEA-00   DCP-00   NSAE-00  
      NSCE-00  OIC-00   OMB-00   NIMA-00  PA-00    MCC-00   PER-00   
      PM-00    GIWI-00  PRS-00   ACE-00   P-00     SP-00    IRM-00   
      SSO-00   SS-00    TRSE-00  FMP-00   IIP-00   SCRS-00  PMB-00   
      DSCC-00  PRM-00   DRL-00   G-00     NFAT-00  SAS-00   SWCI-00  
        /002W
                  ------------------5759DE  022026Z /38    
FM AMEMBASSY NDJAMENA
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 2567
INFO AMEMBASSY YAOUNDE 
AMEMBASSY ACCRA 
AMEMBASSY BAMAKO 
AMEMBASSY DAKAR 
AMEMBASSY BANGUI 
AMEMBASSY NIAMEY 
AMEMBASSY LONDON 
AMEMBASSY PARIS 
USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 
AMEMBASSY ROME 
USMISSION GENEVA 
USLO TRIPOLI
						UNCLAS  NDJAMENA 001624 

SIPDIS


DEPT FOR AF, AF/C, PRM, DRL, INR; LONDON AND PARIS FOR
AFRICAWATCHERS; GENEVA FOR CAMPBELL, ADDIS/NAIROBI/KAMPALA
FOR REFCOORDS; ROME FOR FODAG

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREF PHUM PGOV CD SU CZ
SUBJECT: CENTRAL AFRICAN REFUGEES: PRM VISITS CAMPS IN
SOUTHERN CHAD

REF: NDJAMENA 1616



1. Summary. PRM/AFR Mary Lange (Deputy Director of the
Africa Office) and Neil Ahlsten (Chad/Darfur Program
Officer) traveled to southern Chad from October 10-15 to
visit the refugee camps in Amboko and Yaroungou. The visit
was prompted by the arrival of an estimated 10,700 new
refugees from the Central African Republic to Amboko camp
since June 2005. Amboko and Yaroungou camps now host a
combined 40,000 CAR refugees who are supported by UNHCR,
Cooperazione Internazionale, African Concern and Africare.
Several hundred additional CAR refugees recently arrived at
the border. UNHCR believes that refugee inflows will fall
in the coming months. UNHCR and its partners at Amboko were
caught off guard by the new inflows, and the initial
registration and basic service provision were poor. UNHCR
has since improved its operations considerably through the
support of an Emergency Response Team. UNHCR is in the
process of establishing a new refugee camp at Gondje, with a
contribution of Euro 2 million from ECHO, that should
further ameliorate the situation. CARE will be the lead
implementing partner and assume camp management, while MSF
will provide health services. Africare will provide support
for agriculture and income-generating activities. UNHCR's
budget needs for Gondje have been met by the ECHO
contribution, but additional support for ongoing programs in
Amboko and Yaroungou is still required for UNHCR and WFP.
End Summary.



--------------------------


Refugee Background, Locations, and Numbers


--------------------------





2. In 2003, pockets of insecurity developed in northern CAR
after current President Bozize took power. Since then, a
small number of armed groups are suspected of operating in
the area, including `loyalists' of the Patisse regime,
military deserters and highway robbers. Economic insecurity
and poor agricultural production in northern CAR may have
exacerbated this instability. The first caseload of CAR
refugees arrived in southern Chad in 2003. UNHCR
established Amboko camp near the town of Gore and Yaroungou
camp near the town of Danamadji. The situation remained
relatively stable until June 2005, when unidentified armed
groups attacked villages in northern CAR, precipitating the
new influx of refugees into southern Chad. The most recent
attack occurred on September 27, when a group of
unidentified armed men attacked a small military post in the
village of Markounda and displaced its 1,500 inhabitant.



3. UNHCR's latest statistics indicate that there are 24,526
refugees at Amboko camp and 15,000 refugees at Yaroungou
camp. For Amboko, these figures are divided into the old

caseload of13,826 and the new caseload of 10,700. Yaroungou
camp has no new refugees. Several hundred additional
refugees were scheduled to arrive at Amboko by convoy
shortly after the PRM visit. UNHCR and NGO staff believed
that the figures for the old caseloads at both camps
probably overestimate the actual population by 10-20
percent. Neither camp has had a census since 2003. For the
new caseload in Amboko, very little demographic data is
available. Within the next month, UNHCR plans to register
the head of household from the new caseload as a first step
to improve registration for the new refugees. UNHCR hopes
to do a more in-depth "Project Profile" registration
starting in January 2006.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Amboko: UNHCR's Response and Contingency Planning
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -



4. During interviews with field staff, it was evident that
UNHCR and its partner NGOs had insufficient capacity and
contingency plans at the onset of the new refugee inflows.
The UNHCR field office in Gore (Amboko camp) had only two
relatively inexperienced international staff and was
providing minimal assistance for the old caseload. The
visit was prompted by the arrival of an estimated 10,700 new
refugees from the Central African Republic to Amboko camp


since June 2005. Amboko and Yaroungou camps now host a
combined 40,000 CAR refugees who are supported by UNHCR,
Cooperazione Internazionale, African Concern and Africare.
Several hundred additional CAR refugees recently arrived at
the border. UNHCR believes that refugee inflows will fall
in the coming months time of the PRM visit).



5. In July, the UNHCR field office in Gore received a four-
person Emergency Response Team from UNHCR/Geneva with
protection, logistics, program and administrative
international staff. The team has significantly improved
basic assistance as well as emergency response to new
arrivals. UNHCR personnel from field offices in the eastern
Chad and Danamadji have also come to Gore for short-term
assignments. The resulting team appears to be both capable
and motivated. New arrivals are now transported from the
border to the temporary extension of Amboko camp in
organized convoys, registered immediately, screened by
health and nutrition workers and given a ten-day food
ration, a tent and some non-food items (although blankets
and mosquito nets have not been sufficient). Basic services
in Amboko remain stretched and international standards are
not yet being met in terms of health services, nutrition,
water, and sanitation. Water availability, for example, is
currently only 7-8 liters per person per day. In terms of
food aid, for several months prior to October, WFP suffered
from funding and resource shortfalls for the southern Chad
EMOP and had not delivered the planned rations. At the time
of the visit, new refugees were finally receiving a full
2,100 kcal food ration. The old caseload of refugees was
receiving the planned ration of 1,800 kcal. While this
situation has improved in the short-term, WFP staff warned
that funding for this operation is very tenuous.



6. In response to the refugee influx into southern Chad,
UNHCR has had to borrow heavily from its contingency stock
for Darfur refugees in the east. Most of the non-food items
distributed to the new arrivals came from stocks in eastern
Chad. In some cases, such as kitchen sets, this has
depleted almost the entire stock. A few items, including
5,000 mosquito nets, came from programs in support of
UNICEF's non-emergency operations in Chad. UNHCR did not
provide blankets to the new refugees from CAR because it
wanted to maintain its stock of blankets for the cold season
in eastern Chad. The UNHCR senior program officer in
N'Djamena noted that UNHCR was obliged to try to replenish
eastern stocks using funds earmarked for the new influx in
the south, but she was skeptical of receiving sufficient
funding to do so. The new influx has had only minimal
impact on staffing for UNHCR programs in eastern Chad. The
Emergency Response Team was comprised of staff from Geneva
or other international offices. The additional staff that
came from programs in eastern Chad was deployed only for
short term assignments. The head of the UNHCR office in
Gore said that the office was developing contingency plans
for up to 5,000 new refugees, but he was not able to provide
any concrete details regarding the plan. He believes, and
UNHCR/N'Djamena agreed, that any new refugee inflows into
southern Chad would be small because most of the population
in the bordering areas of CAR has already been displaced
either to Chad or further inland in CAR.



7. WFP has also had to borrow from stocks in the east to
meet emergency food needs of new refugees in southern Chad.
WFP currently only has sufficient food stocks to cover needs
in southern Chad for one more month. By December, the
pipeline for vegetable oil will break. Subsequent breaks
for cereals and pulses are anticipated for January and
February. WFP/N'Djamena indicated it would be requesting
authorization from USAID/FFP to borrow $1 million worth of
commodities from a recent USD 7 million contribution for the
eastern Chad EMOP. Otherwise, no alternatives have been
identified.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Continuing Operations at Yaroungou Camp
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -




8. The situation in Yaroungou was much more stable and
manageable. From October 13 to 15, PRM visited UNHCR's
programs for Yaroungou camp, which has a population of
15,000 refugees, all of whom date back to the 2003 influx.
The team found no major concerns with the camp operations.
UNHCR and its partners are delivering most basic services at
an adequate level. PRM visited the health, nutrition, water
and sanitation programs of COOPI, which has a strong team
and reasonably well-managed operations. Low vaccination
rates were the main shortcoming of COOPI. This was caused
by a break in the supply of vaccines on the part of the
Government of Chad and has since been rectified. The
operations and staff of African Concern (camp management,
education, agriculture, community services) were not as
strong as COOPI, particularly in terms of community
services. For example, they recently established four mills
to be operated by refugee committees, but due to poor follow
up two of them are no longer operational and the two
functional mills do not have resources for basic
maintenance.



9. The refugees at Yaroungou camp have a similar ethnic
background as the local population, and relationships
between the two groups are good. This is reflected in the
fact that many refugees have gained access to farmland in
areas around Yaroungou camp. African Concern and FAO have
helped refugees access 1,700 hectares of land (50m x 50m
plots per family) and have provided seeds and tools to boost
their production of staple and vegetable crops.
Agricultural production could be a cornerstone of self-
sufficiency for refugees in Amboko. Refugee leaders said
that the land around Yaroungou camp was very productive.
UNHCR noted that even if peace comes to northern CAR, at
least half of the refugee population will likely stay in
southern Chad. Given the refugee access to farmland, UNHCR
field staff and the visiting WFP-UNHCR joint assessment
mission agreed that reduced rations and perhaps targeted
food aid might be feasible for 2006.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Future Plans for UNHCR and Implementing Partners
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -



10. The most appropriate near-term solution for Central
African refugees in Chad is clearly local integration and
self-reliance activities, and UNHCR is hoping that
sufficient funding will be available in 2006 to pursue this
strategy. UNHCR recently secured GOC authorizations for a
new site at Gondje, situated five kilometers from Amboko,
with sufficient land for both the camp itself and
agricultural land for refugees. ECHO has agreed to fund the
development of the site as part of a two million euro grant
to UNHCR and implementing partners. CARE will take over
camp management and will develop the site, with refugees
being divided into nine to ten "villages" of roughly 1,500
people each with surrounding fields available for
cultivation. . MSF will open a health center at Gondje on
a temporary basis, with potential handover to COOPI when
emergency health conditions have abated.



11. Africare, with the support of UNHCR, has already
started a program in vegetable gardening and hopes to
implement programs in staple food production for the rainy
season starting in May of 2006. PRM staff visited some of
the current and proposed locations for Africare's
agricultural support programs. Africare has worked with
over one hundred groups of refugees to clear ten hectares
for vegetable production. An additional forty hectares of
land will be used for staple crops (sorghum, rice and
maize).



12. In both Amboko and Yaroungou, conditions are ideal for
refugee self-reliance within a year or two. Refugees enjoy
exceptional hospitality from the local population and
support from local and traditional authorities in terms of
access to land. With the proper agricultural support (oxen,
seeds, and tools), UNHCR and WFP agreed that refugees in
Yaroungou could be self-reliant by the end of 2006.


Refugees in Amboko and Gondje could be self-sufficient by
the end of 2007.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Conclusion and Recommendations
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -



13. The PRM team offers the following conclusions and
recommendations based on their visit to southern Chad:

(a) PRM and other donors should support UNHCR's strategy of
local integration and self-reliance for CAR refugees.
Refugees are more than willing to work, and only require
minimal agricultural support. The donor community, with
minimal investment, should act now to prevent a protracted
situation of refugee dependence on international relief.

(b) PRM agreed with WFP's assessment that food aid can be
reduced for old caseload refugees in 2006 and possibly ended
for the Yaroungo population by September 2006 (after the
harvest), provided agricultural support is sufficient and a
safety net of targeted feeding remains available for
vulnerable refugees.

(c) As for immediate food needs of CAR refugees, additional
donor contributions are required. USAID may also wish to
consider WFP's request to shift some commodities from the
well-resourced EMOP for Sudanese refugees (full pipeline
through May) for the under-resourced CAR EMOP.

(d) UNHCR should develop more detailed contingency plans
for possible new refugee inflows to southern Chad. While
large influxes are thought to be unlikely, even smaller
inflows of 5,000 - 10,000 will tax UNHCR's current capacity.
UNHCR should not continue to rely on stocks from eastern
operations to meet emergency needs in the south.

(e) UNHCR's current Head of Field Office in Gore is
departing at the end of 2006. UNHCR should quickly identify
a strong manager for Amboko and Gondje operations and should
also move quickly to fill the new Protection and Field
Officer posts recently established. A much stronger UNHCR
team is required in Gore to ensure effective emergency
response as well as to implement self-reliance programs for
CAR refugees.



14. Tripoli Minimize Considered.

WALL


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