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Chad: Asylum

Volume 471: debated on Monday 28 January 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment he has made of the humanitarian situation of refugees and internally displaced persons in Chad; and if he will make a statement. (180820)

Eastern Chad hosts 240,000 Sudanese refugees in 12 refugee camps and 46,000 Central African refugees in four refugee camps. There are 180,000 IDPs, and an estimated 700,000 in host communities have been adversely affected by the ongoing conflict. DFID relies on data from partner agencies for assessment of the humanitarian situation affecting the displaced populations, and the humanitarian situation in Chad is monitored closely by a dedicated west African humanitarian advisor. In financial year 2007-08, DFID has committed £6.5 million to Chad through humanitarian agencies. These include ICRC (3600,000), UNHCR (£2 million) UNOCHA (£260,000), Oxfam (£330,000), WFP (£1.8 million) and Islamic Relief (£500,000).

Though conditions for refugees remain of concern, the immediate humanitarian needs of most of the refugee population are being addressed. In the majority of refugee camps, for example, refugees are receiving 15 litres of potable water per person per day, in accordance with international standards. According to the UN, refugees all have access to primary health care facilities, although vaccination coverage is less than the accepted level. The UN estimates that 82 per cent. of refugee school-age children are enrolled and attend school. In line with international nutritional norms, refugees are all receiving 2,100 kCal per person per day. Nutritional surveillance shows that in the refugee population, global acute malnutrition is 7.7 per cent. which is within the WHO-defined ‘alert’ band, and severe acute malnutrition is 0.75 per cent.—which is defined as ‘acceptable’.

The situation for the internally displaced population is more worrying; in many cases, standards fall below the internationally accepted norms. Of the total of 180,000 IDPs, only 125,000 are receiving more than 10 litres of potable water per person per day. The UN estimates that 70 per cent. of IDPs have access to primary health care facilities at utilisation rate of one visit per person per year, which is below what is to be expected for a displaced population. 2,100 kCal per day have been provided to a caseload of 150,000 IDPs. Global acute malnutrition levels are at 21.4 per cent. and severe acute malnutrition levels are at 2.6 per cent; both levels are classified by WHO as ‘serious’. The UN notes that information relating to the full extent of coverage of humanitarian need is as yet incomplete. The situation for the host population, and those otherwise affected by the conflict, is very serious, with global and severe malnutrition figures comparable to those prevalent amongst the IDPs. The UN estimates that some 700,000 additional people fall into this category.