“How Many Refugees in Chad?”
Eric Reeves | August 2016 | http://wp.me/p45rOG-1Vw
In late April of this year I published “Invisible, Forgotten, and Suffering: Darfuri Refugees in Eastern Chad,” (Sudan Tribune, April 28, 2016 | Huffington Post, April 28, 2016). The piece drew a sharply critical response from UN High Commission for Refugee officials in Chad, although they addressed few of the issues I raised in my piece. One issue, however, was clarified in the email exchange between me and these UNHCR officials (April 29 – April 30, 2016): the number of Darfuri refugees in eastern Chad as of the time, according to UNHCR. The figure, according to their “census,” was 302,000—well below the figure of 380,000 that UNHCR had promulgated just a year earlier.
The figure of 380,000 was part of a useful refugee profile of Chad and appeared at the URL |
http://www.unhcr.org/pages/49e45c226.html/. This URL now links to a much different and largely usefless location on the UNHCR website; and the figure of 380,000 has disappeared except insofar as it was acknowledged in the email exchange of above to have indeed been the figure that UNHCR “corrected” to 302,000.
In fact, the figure used in what would appear the most authoritative UNHCR publication (Global Trends: Forced Displacement, 2015 | published 2016; page 16) uses the figure of 299,800.
Bredjing refugee camp, eastern Chad (date unknown)
We should of course be wary of figures with such unobtainable precision: they reflect not assiduous census-taking so much as a reliance on various registries (e.g., the World Food Program’s registration of refugees for food rations).