GENEVA, Switzerland, March 11, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — IOM today began to repatriate by road the first of thousands of Chadians who fled to Cameroon in January to escape fighting in the Central African Republic (CAR.)
IOM yesterday (10/3) completed the registration of the first 1,000 Chadians scheduled to return home with IOM road convoys.
The group, who have been stranded in Garoua Boulai, east Cameroon, with no shelter and little or no assistance for over two and a half months, are among some 7,000 Chadian and other migrants who fled the Car and are currently stranded in Cameroon.
The movements from Garoua Boulai to Moundou in southern Chad will begin today and continue through the coming weeks.
At the request of the Chadian authorities, each convoy arriving at the Moundou transit site will be limited to 300 people to allow time for processing and onward transport provided by IOM. The convoys will be organized at three day intervals.
IOM, with the Chadian authorities, has constructed tarpaulin shelters and will help to manage local authorities to manage the site. When the returnees arrive, it will also register and profile them to identify their immediate and longer terms needs.
The fighting in the Car has forced thousands of Chadians, CAR nationals and other migrants to flee the CAR to neighboring countries. As of 8th March, IOM registered an influx of over 82,000 Chadian returnees, CAR nationals and third country nationals into Chad.
While some of the evacuees continued their journey to final destinations in Chad, over 56,000 are still living in the transit sites, many in difficult conditions in the south of the country and in N’Djamena.
“At the request of the government, IOM has been trying to assist migrants fleeing from the CAR. But the needs are far too great to be met with the internal IOM funding and we need more help for this life saving operation. We have appealed for USD 19 million and have thus far received USD 350,000,” says IOM Chad Chief of Mission Dr. Qasim Sufi.