Since the beginning of 2003, the conflict in the Darfur region has driven some 215 000 Sudanese refugees to Eastern Chad. Living in many camps, they struggle along with the local impoverished population, estimated at 1 185 000 persons, for use of limited water and sanitation facilities. Access to health care is aggravated by the cost recovery system.
Ongoing military operations (March 2006) in the area have recently displaced some 4 000 Chadians, adding to the 30 000 persons already displaced mainly in Adre and Goz Beida. In addition, around 42 000 Central African refugees have crossed into the southern region of Sarh, including up to 7 000 since the beginning of 2006. The total combined population of the Abeche and Sarh regions is almost 900 000, including refugees and local communities.
Traditional coping mechanisms are failing. Inadequate food availability, deficient water supply – both in quantity and quality – and communicable diseases are the principal factors impacting on the health and nutritional status of these populations.