IOM Supports First Evacuations from Sudan to Chad
Geneva/N’Djamena – The first group of evacuees from Sudan arrived at N’Djamena’s Hassan Djamous International Airport in Chad late yesterday (27.04) in two special flights chartered by the Chadian authorities. The group included 116 males and 110 females, 39 of whom were children.
IOM helped the Chadian authorities with the registration of the new arrivals, the identification and referral of vulnerable cases, and post-arrival assistance including cash to support onwards transportation to reunite evacuees with their families.
“We are working around the clock to continue supporting the Government of Chad in this delicate and complex situation, despite massive gaps in much needed funding,” says Anne Kathrin Schaefer, IOM Chief of Mission in Chad.
These efforts are closely coordinated with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Chadians Abroad and International Cooperation which heads a Government Crisis Cell established to coordinate the evacuation operations from Sudan.
“Our priority is to ensure that all those who have arrived receive adequate support to help them reunite with their families, but also medical assistance, including mental health and psychosocial support,” she adds.
Since the start of fighting in Sudan in mid-April, thousands of people have fled to neighboring countries, including an estimated over 20,000 arriving in Chad. Despite multiple ceasefire announcements, fighting escalated over the past few days, leaving many more people stranded in Khartoum and other major cities due to the volatile security situation.
Caroline, 36, who lived in Khartoum for two years was one of them.
“There were gunshots and lootings, and I couldn’t communicate with others as the internet connection was disrupted,” she recalls.
When the situation became calmer during the first ceasefire announcement, Caroline and at least 300 other Chadians signed up with the Embassy of Chad in Khartoum for voluntary return home. “I am very happy to be back home. I haven’t slept properly for a week. All I want is to go home and rest,” she adds.
Ousmane was also among the evacuees, and he remembers the chaotic situation in Khartoum. “We could not find food as all the stores and markets were closed. We seized the opportunity of the first ceasefire to find shelter with other Chadians,” he says.
“There are many more Chadians there who want to come back home because the situation is unlivable.”
According to Chadian authorities, Thursday’s flights are the first of a series of evacuations of Chadians as well as migrants from other countries stranded in Sudan.
In Eastern Chad along the border with Sudan, IOM has deployed its emergency and Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) teams to support the pre-registration of people fleeing the violence.
“The situation remains very fragile, and needs are rapidly growing as more information becomes available,” says IOM’s Anne Schaefer. “We can’t stress enough the need for urgent financial support to enable us to provide relief to those most vulnerable including through voluntary humanitarian return, protection, health, and mental health and psychosocial support.”
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