Months of conflict in the Darfur district of Western Sudan between rebel forces and the government has forced thousands of civilians to flee into neighbouring Chad. More than 70,000 refugees are reported to be scattered over 600 km, most of them women and children.
A 40-day ceasefire agreement between the warring parties was signed on 6 September. As the end of the ceasefire approaches, the security situation is expected to deteriorate. Groups of refugees continue to cross the border every night.
Conditions in the refugee camps are harsh with sand storms, rain and temperatures that can rise to 40 degrees Celsius during the day and drop to minus 15 at night. There is little shelter other than torn rags and plastic sheeting.
Food supplies are scarce and malnutrition is on the increase. There is no clean water – refugees resort to digging holes in dried-up riverbeds with their bare hands to get to water. By December the river beds will be completely dry.
A spokesperson for the Red Cross said, "We are overwhelmed by the sheer number of people who have been displaced by the recent events in Darfur".
Islamic Relief is monitoring the situation closely and establishing contact with other organisations working in the region. IR is preparing to provide non-food items such as shelter, blankets, and household utensils to refugees and internally displaced people.