In Chad, Nigerian refugees are healing their wounds.

By Badre Bahaji

Bagasola, CHAD, March 3, 2016 – « At dawn, my village was attacked. I was already 8-months pregnant but I had no choice, I had to run as fast I could, » explains Binta Mahamadou, a young mother of 6 children. “We were leaving in Baga on the shore of the Lake in Nigeria. We fled to Chad by boat, we left everything we had behind.

Binta, now lives in Dar es Salaam refugee camp, in the Lake Region of Chad, with her little twin babies Mahamadou and Khadija, who were born just a few weeks after she arrived safely in Chad. She gave birth in the hospital of Bagasola, a town located 15 kilometers from the camp.

“We are all survivors here”

« I had a surgery due to complications. The babies were in the breech position and I had to undergo an operation, I was very afraid of losing them. I did not even know that I was expecting twins. I stayed eight days in the hospital before coming back to the camp. Today, my two little babies are fine, healthy, I feel blessed as I see them growing every day. We are all survivors here” she says.

Like this courageous mother who fled the conflict in northeast Nigeria, thousands of refugees are struggling to heal their wounds and rebuild their lives. In Chad, close to 75,000 people have been displaced due to the violence in the Lake region and are now living in refugee and internal displaced camps.

UNICEF, with financial support of United Nations’ Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF)[1], is supporting the health facilities and mobile clinics of the region with medicines supplies, including 27,000 vaccines, training and deployment of paramedics and community support for prevention of malnutrition

A relief for women and children

Located in the heart of Dar Es Salaam refugee camp, the UNICEF-supported health center is the busiest facility of the camp, hosting more than 5,000 refugees. Inside several tents, tied up side-by-side, health workers are running consultations, immunizations activities, malnutrition screening and consultation and care to patients.

“Since we’re here, we are all healthy. But most importantly, we are no longer afraid of being attacked in the middle of the night. My children sleep well and they can go to school without being frightened by the sounds of gunshots. It’s the first time they’re going to school, I told them that they are lucky because they will have a better life. They did not have that chance back in Nigeria”, she says.

In 2015, despite insecurity along the Lake Chad, UNICEF and its partners responded to the needs of the population affected by the conflict in northeast Nigeria, particularly in the Sahel belt and around the Lake.

Chad continues to face numerous humanitarian challenges in a context of growing vulnerability. Of the 3.9 million people affected by the different emergencies, an estimated 3.4 million will be food insecure in 2016 and 728,000 children under 5 years of age will suffer from acute malnutrition. In addition, Chad is host to the world’s seventh largest refugee population, with more than 378,000 refugees from the Central African Republic, Nigeria and the Sudan.

Between 2015 and 2016, UNICEF Chad received close to USD 3,000,000 from the United Nation’s Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) to support health care, nutrition, water, sanitation and hygiene and protection interventions for refugees, internally displaced people, returnees and host population affected by the Nigerian crisis in the Lake Region of Chad.

Despite insecurity, UNICEF works with its partners to provide life-saving support to the most vulnerable children and women. This includes providing clean water and life-saving health services, restoring access to education by creating temporary learning spaces, delivering therapeutic treatment to malnourished children, distributing emergency supplies such as buckets, soap and water tanks, and ensuring that children benefits form psychosocial and recreational activities.

[1] USD 1,350,000 allocated for Health and Nutrition activities.

 

 

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