Northern Chad: UN Rings Aid Alarm As Clashes Displace Migrant Workers

The International Organisation for Migration (IOM), a United Nations agency, in Chad requires $1.2 million to urgently assist more than 950 migrants and Chadian nationals displaced by inter-communal fighting around two gold mines near the Libyan border as at last December ending.  

The UN agency is anticipating that more will flee the ongoing instability, with estimates for the coming days of another 1,200 people, who are expected to travel south from Zouarke to Faya-Largeau.

Recent clashes have led to at least 30 deaths, according to media reports, with another 400 injured, according to local authorities.

IOM is one of the few organisations present in Faya-Largeau. It offers community stabilisation programmes and medical and psychosocial support to migrants in the town of approximately 20,000 which has traditionally served as a hub for Chadian nationals and African traders transiting for commerce, or on circular migration routes linking Chad, Niger, Sudan and Libya.

The community lacks adequate resources to respond to the humanitarian needs of the recently displaced migrants.

IOM officials say emergency funding will allow IOM to provide health assessments, assist stranded migrants and displaced Chadians to voluntarily return to their communities or countries of origin, as well as support authorities dealing with the emergency.

“The migrants were surprised by the conflict and fled without even taking a blanket or money to pay for their homeward transportation,” said Daoud Hamat Bechir, Governor of Borkou Province.

Chad is a key transit country on the northbound Central Mediterranean Route, as well as a destination country for many migrant workers. Since 2012, migrant workers from Burkina Faso, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Niger, Senegal and Sudan, among other countries, have been drawn to gold mining areas in northern Tibesti.

Through all of 2018, IOM assisted 120 vulnerable migrants seeking voluntary return to their countries of origin. IOM operates three Flow Monitoring Points (FMPs) to track displacement and migration trends in northern Chad. An average of 571 individuals transited through IOM’s Flow Monitoring Points in Faya-Largeau and Kalait daily in November 2018.

Since last December 27, however, movement has been limited. Authorities estimate that 1,800 people – migrants and Chadians – who fled seeking protection, are currently stranded in or around Miski, and between Guizindi, Houm and Wour.

Furthermore, IOM Chad supports the government to develop informed and responsive policies and programmatic responses to migration challenges, border management, diaspora engagement and counter-trafficking initiatives. For years, IOM Chad’s core activities have been focused on community stabilization and emergency support for displaced and returning Chadians.

IOM operations are made possible through the support of the Federal Republic of Germany, the European Union Trust Fund, IOM’s Global Assistance Fund and IOM’s Humanitarian Assistance to Stranded Migrants Fund.

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