Hello from N’Djamena:
We made it safely out of Eastern Chad, right before violence and instability broke out; we could have been stuck there, since the road we last traveled was closed down the very next day. Our friends in the camps are not as lucky, with aid staff being relocated and services being stopped; refugees themselves are now managing the basics, such as food and water. In Guereda, from where we went to camps Kounoungou and Mile, UNHCR staff has been evacuated. Five cars were stolen, and armed men went in to their compound. There is complete impunity and chaos in that area.
In N’Djamena, it is not any more stable. The rebels have surrounded the city, with some fighting going on just a few kilometers outside. Our flight out scheduled for tonight has been cancelled, and it is one day at a time from here out. The airport is closed to all but military flights.
There is an eerie feeling of calm in this city because of the lack of activity in the streets. There are EU soldiers walking through the hotel with their weapons. I am not very concerned for our own safety, but the uncertainty of not knowing when we’ll be able to leave is strange.We are now going to work on organizing our pictures and video material. As I look at some of the faces in our pictures, I feel bad that this instability and not knowing is something that they live with every single day, and they have been living it for five years.
Since we’re here, KTJ and I will continue posting journals and even sending up pictures from the camps we have not sent before. We’ll be in touch, and you let us know your thoughts and any news you hear about Chad and the current crisis.
Hoping for Paz!