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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
05NDJAMENA28
2005-01-10 06:50:00
UNCLASSIFIED
Embassy Ndjamena
Cable title:  

CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC REFUGEES: DON'T FORGET US!

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


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      OMB-00   NIMA-00  EPAU-00  PA-00    MCC-00   PER-00   PM-00    
      GIWI-00  PRS-00   ACE-00   P-00     SP-00    SSO-00   SS-00    
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                  ------------------A1404D  100659Z /38    
FM AMEMBASSY NDJAMENA
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 0725
INFO AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 
AMEMBASSY BAMAKO 
AMEMBASSY DAKAR 
AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 
AMEMBASSY LONDON 
AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 
AMEMBASSY PARIS 
USMISSION GENEVA 
USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 
COMSCEUR LONDON UK
SECDEF WASHDC
USEU BRUSSELS
USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL
USLO TRIPOLI
						UNCLAS  NDJAMENA 000028 

SIPDIS


LONDON AND PARIS FOR AFRICAWATCHERS, GENEVA FOR RMA,
ADDIS/KAMPALA/NAIROBI FOR REFCOORDS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PREF PHUM CD SU CT
SUBJECT: CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC REFUGEES: DON'T FORGET US!



1. Summary. Central African refugees told Ambassador Wall
not to forget their plight during his visit to Amboko Camp in
Gore on December 14. Amboko, in southern Chad near the
border with Central African Republic, has been open since
June 2003 and hosts 13,800 refugees who fled political unrest
in their own country. The refugees expressed concern that
the humanitarian crisis in eastern Chad has overshadowed
their situation. They provided a list of needs, including
insufficient food rations and other non-food items;
insufficient construction materials, agricultural and
educational needs; and finally, a lack of support for
handicapped and vulnerable individuals. The local Chadian
population hosting the Central African Republic refugees is
better off than their counterparts in eastern Chad. However,
local Chadian authorities pointed out disparities in
educational facilities between the refugee camp and nearby
schools. End Summary.

- - - - - -
AMBOKO CAMP
- - - - - -



2. UNHCR Gore hosted Ambassador Wall, P/E officer, and
commercial assistant to a visit to Amboko Refugee Camp on
December 14. The Governor of Doba Rodai Batinda and Prefet
of Nyapende joined the U.S. delegation for the camp visit.
The refugees organized a rousing arrival ceremony, with
singing and dancing school children, a meeting with the
refugee committee, and a tour of the medical facilities.
Fifty-percent of the 13,800 refugees in the camp are from the
Salamat and Ronga ethnic groups. These Muslim traders were
originally from Chad. Forty-nine percent of the refugees are
Christian farmers from the Kaba ethnic group. The camp is
divided into four zones, one inhabited by Muslims, two by
Christians, and one is mixed. All decisions are made by
consensus and only carried out if approved by the presidents
of all four zones. UNHCR meets weekly with the refugee
representatives, local authorities, and international
partners to coordinate camp activities. Africa Concern
manages the camp. UNHCR noted that the non-governmental
organizations working in the camp need more training.

- - - - - - - - - - - - -
REFUGEES: DON,T FORGET US
- - - - - - - - - - - - -



3. Leaders of the various refugee committees told Ambassador
Wall that they appreciate the assistance of the United States
and UNHCR. However, they are concerned that the Central
African refugees are being forgotten in the surge of donor
activity to assist the Sudanese refugees in eastern Chad.
They asked that donors treat all of the refugees equally.
They also pointed out that some donors do not think of the
Central African refugees as refugees any more.

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

FOOD DISTRIBUTION PROBLEMS
- - - - - - - - - - - - - -



4. Food distribution to Amboko camp continues to experience
significant delays and irregularities. During September,
October, and November, food distributions were incomplete,
delayed, or not received. The refugees raised this issue and
complained that the only food supplies they receive, when
they receive it, are sorghum, beans, and oils. They want a
different source of protein. WFP used 380 metric tons of
sorghum from food stores for refugees in eastern Chad to
ensure a food distribution took place in Amboko in December.
Irregular food distribution has created a high level of
tensions within the camp, putting humanitarian workers at
risk. UNHCR hopes that restoring regular distributions will
lower the potential for unrest. The access road from Gore to
the camp remains in bad condition and UNHCR proposes that a
food-for-work program be used to improve the road and employ
refugees. Sections of the road from Gore to Moundou have
recently been graded. There also is discussion of improving
a local airstrip near Gore to improve access and regularize

assistance deliveries. In addition, the road from Moundou to
Gore is vulnerable to banditry.

- - - - - - - -
MEDICAL CENTER
- - - - - - - -



5. The refugees raised concern over the departure of
MSF-Belgium from the camp. MSF-Belgium established and
managed the medical center at the camp, but a headquarters
decision was made that the emergency is over and MSF-Belgium
is needed elsewhere. Malaria is the key medical issue in the
camp. One case per week of severe malnourishment is
registered each week. COOPI, an Italian non-governmental
organization plans to take over health care operations in
January 2005.

- - - -
HOUSING
- - - -



6. The camp residents want more construction materials to
build homes, particularly roofing to withstand the heavy
rains. All refugees have tents, but many want more permanent
structures. African Concern is helping the refugees build
mud and brick homes. Over 400 have been constructed in the
last quarter of 2004. Many refugees have built homes on
their own.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - -
REFUGEES WITH SPECIAL NEEDS
- - - - - - - - - - - - - -



7. The refugees emphasized the issue of persons with special
needs. The camp has a significant number of physically
disabled refugees, blind persons, and widows. The refugees
noted that the handicapped have no way of getting around or
any activities to keep them occupied or generate revenue.
African Concern and Notre Dame de la Paix are implementing a
program to assist these vulnerable groups.

- - - - -
EDUCATION
- - - - -



8. Heavy rains have badly damaged the camp school, which had
been hastily constructed during the emergency phase of the
operation. Currently, fourteen buildings host 1800 refugee
children; 1200 boys and 600 girls. Although the rate of
girls not attending school is not considered high, a school
feeding program has been proposed to attract more girls. The
refugees would like assistance for the high-school aged
children, who have to walk seven kilometers to attend class
in Gore. For the adults, the refugees would like a technical
skills center and the opportunity to participate in
micro-enterprises. After leaving the camp, local authorities
showed the Ambassador a school nearby school attended by
Chadian children which consisted of a thatched structure and
an outdoor blackboard.

- - - - - - -
CAMP SECURITY
- - - - - - -



9. All Central African refugees were admitted to Chad, but
an official registration has not yet been done. UNHCR
reports that the security in the camp is precarious. There
are reports of ex-liberators in the camp, which has
heightened security concerns. There are two Chadian
policemen, two gendarmes, and six soldiers providing camp
security. UNHCR recommends that security is reinforced to
the same level of the camps in eastern Chad. The salaries of
the security personnel in the camp have recently have been
increased.

- - - -
COMMENT

- - - -



10. There was no discussion of when the Central African
refugees would return to their country. Amboko has more of a
village feel to it than a refugee camp. It was clear from
the refugee demands that they are struggling with being in
stage of limbo two years after their arrival to Chad. The
Chadian Government is disappointed that the camp management
is being turned over to another international organization
(Africa Concern) rather than a Chadian-based non-governmental
organization.



11. Khartoum and Tripoli Minimize Considered.
LEONARD


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