General views in Camp Ecole hosting Sudanese refugees in Adré. Chad, August 2023. © MSF
Teams from international medical organisation Doctors Without Borders / Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) are currently witnessing the dire living conditions in these settlements, where refugees face severe shortages of food, water, sanitation, shelter and medical care. Doctors Without Borders appeals to the UN, international donors and humanitarian organisations to respond swiftly to the urgent humanitarian needs of the refugees in Adre and across Ouaddai province.
It’s hard to describe what these people are going through. People are desperately waiting for food rations. Some have gone five weeks without receiving food. People are feeding their children on insects, grass and leaves. They have much less water than they need and many have no shelter whatsoever. How can they survive like this? People are desperately waiting for food rations, but they don’t even have basic cooking supplies. How will they cook if they have no pots?Susana Borges, emergency coordinator
Doctors Without Borders medical teams in eastern Chad are treating the refugees for health conditions related to their poor living conditions and lack of food. “The most urgent health needs we are dealing with are malaria, diarrhoea and malnutrition,” says Borges.
Across the border in Sudan, the number of people forced to flee their homes is rising daily. Doctors Without Borders medical teams in Sudan have treated large numbers of people injured by bullets and in explosions. The health system is buckling under the pressure of operating in a conflict situation. Several medical facilities have been damaged in the fighting, while other facilities are overwhelmed with patients and short of medical staff, supplies and, in some cases, water and electricity.
Patients waiting for triage at the Doctors Without Borders clinic in Adre camp. Chad, August 2023. © MSF
"We are deeply concerned about the population within Sudan and their access to healthcare, as well as the increased risks of epidemics resulting from the current situation," says Trish Newport, Doctors Without Borders's head of emergency response. "We are also deeply concerned about people who have fled Sudan for Chad. The situation in eastern Chad is a major emergency and risks deteriorating further if there is not a swift and substantial scale-up of humanitarian aid."
In the eastern Chadian province of Ouaddai, Doctors Without Borders teams are providing critical medical care in partnership with the Ministry of Health. They have expanded inpatient capacity in Adre hospital and four neighbouring health centres to 420 beds. Doctors Without Borders teams at a 38-bed clinic in Camp Ecole are conducting around 460 consultations daily and are currently treating 372 children for malnutrition.
View of the nutritional unit of the Doctors Without Borders clinic in Adré. Chad, August 2023. © MSF
In Adre hospital, 150 patients are currently receiving treatment for trauma injuries, mostly gunshot wounds sustained in Sudan, while 133 children are being treated for life-threatening medical complications linked to malaria and malnutrition.
Doctors Without Borders teams are also providing maternal healthcare and care for survivors of sexual violence. Doctors Without Borders mental health teams working in Camp Ecole have heard numerous reports of Sudanese women and girls being subjected to rape and other forms of sexual violence during their journey to Chad. Many recounted being confined in a room and raped by groups of men. Given the depth of their psychological trauma and suffering, these people need ongoing and comprehensive support, say Doctors Without Borders mental health staff.
Doctors Without Borders calls on the UN, international donors and aid organisations to meet the urgent humanitarian needs of Sudanese refugees in Chad in order to prevent more suffering and potential loss of life.