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Over 1200 Sudanese refugees return from Chad to W. Darfur

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Women from Darfur line up to receive their monthly ration in the Djabal camp, in eastern Chad (WFP Photo)

December 3, 2016 (KHARTOUM) - Some 1,205 Sudanese refugees in the neighbouring Chad have returned to West Darfur State, according to the Sudanese government Humanitarian Aid Commission (HAC).

There are some 310,000 Sudanese refugees in Chad since nearly 13 years ago. United Nations agencies (UNHCR and WFP) last week revealed the precarious food security situation they are facing due to the lack of international funding.

"About 1,250 people (250 families) have returned from Chad to Sisi village in Gobe administrative unit, Habila locality in recent weeks," said UNOCHA-Sudan its weekly bulletin released on Friday.

HAC and aid groups will send a joint assessment mission to the area before to provide the needed assistance.

Also, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) started a return monitoring exercise to improve the tracking of refugee returnees.

"The exercise was completed in 20 return villages in El Geneina locality. IOM plans to complete the exercise in the remaining seven localities by the end of 2016," said the bulletin.

In a statement released on 25 November, the WFP said the lack of sources forced them to reduce food rations to refugees in Chad, adding that 43% of refugee households in the camps are food insecure.

"The global chronic malnutrition rate exceeds the critical threshold of 40%, and the majority of children under five suffer from anaemia," reveals a reports of an assessment mission by the WFP and UNHCR.

The head of UNHCR office in Chad Jose Antonio Canhandula proposed "to move from offering assistance to investing in human capacities, and integrate the refugee programme into a broader development programme".

"Our international protection mandate cannot be fully achieved without ensuring food security for refugees and for their host communities,” Canhandula added.

During the year 2015, some 66,000 refugees returned to West Darfur from Chad. IOM said three localities of Jebel Moon, Habila and Forobaranga have the largest number of returnees.

In April 2016, the European Union launched a seven-million programme to strengthen community resilience, social cohesion and peace-building in areas affected by flows of returnees from Chad, as it is the case in West Darfur.

The project which is funded by the EU Emergency Fund for Stability and Addressing the Root Causes of Irregular Migration in Africa, will cover six localities in West Darfur State (Al Geneina, Beida, Sirba, Krenik, Kulbus and Jebel Moon). All these areas are affected by the displacement and the return of refugees with a low level of health coverage and poor health indicators.

(ST)

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