Fire Destroys Homes in Camp Goz Amer
By Gabriel Stauring
Most of them have already experienced this trauma at least once before. As Mariam told us yesterday, anyone over thirteen years old is likely to have seen their villages completely destroyed, burned to the ground in the flash of violence that made them refugees.
At camp Goz Amer, fires are a common event. The homes, made mostly of grass and sticks, are highly overcrowded, and wind gusts and children playing are easy involuntary arsonists. It is not a question of whether there will be a fire or not. Fires are a certainty. The questions are: when and where they will start, how big will they be, and will there be any casualties?
The refugee population has grown considerably since the camp was first established, but the area in which the refugees live remains close to the same. This creates a situation of overcrowded homes. When a fire starts, it will jump from home to home to home, before the refugees can respond to put it out.
The fire today burned more than 20 homes. Women tried hopelessly to save food from burning, but the whole area was still like a furnace, and most just gave up and broke down in tears.
Believe it or not, this fire was not one of the bad ones. Families rushed from all over the camp to throw water and sand on the flames, and “only” two refugee were injured and taken to the clinic.
They tell us that after fires like this one, the affected refugees receive no assistance from humanitarian agencies. They are expected to deal with it on their own, since they are on their way to self-reliance. Neighbors, very poor themselves, must help the victims that now have nothing, pushing everyone closer—and maybe over—the edge.
Seeing the Little Ripples
We will spend more time with Yaya tomorrow and hopefully get to speak with him more about how things are going for him here in camp Goz Amer. Though he looked more thin than usual, and based on other stories and the food situation for most in the camp, I imagine he has also been hit hard by the food cuts.
With gratitude, Sara-Christine
Fasting in Solidarity
I do this as we launch the RESTORE 2100 campaign.
Whether you are fasting or not, please visit the campaign page, learn more, sign the petition, and give any amount you can towards improving children’s nutrition and health through our Little Ripples program.
Darfuri refugees in eastern Chad are experiencing severe cuts in food rations. Of the World Food Program minimum standard of 2,100 calories per person, per day, they now only receive approximately 800 calories. In the extreme conditions that exist in this region, it is not possible for the refugees to make up the difference to provide for the minimum nutritional needs of their families. Young children are impacted the most. The resulting malnutrition has negative developmental effects, most of which are irreversible.
Thank you for you support and solidarity, Gabriel
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More information about food insecurity can be found on our virtual Refugee Rations report.
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