(AFP) – Apr 12, 2008
GENEVA (AFP) — A fire swept through a refugee camp in eastern Chad injuring 10 people and leaving some 3,000 people from Sudan's war-torn Darfur region homeless, the United Nations said Saturday.
The blaze, which broke out in the remote Goz Amer camp on Friday was sparked by an untended cooking fire, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said in a statement.
"Everybody around, refugees and all our partners alike, rushed to the spot and tried to extinguish the fire with whatever they had: clothes, extinguishers and water," said Emmanuel Uwurukundo, a local UNHCR official.
"The teamwork was outstanding."
Goz Amer, located about 70 kilometres (43 miles) from the Sudanese border, has a population of about 20,500 refugees.
It is the southernmost of 12 UNHCR-run camps along a 600-kilometre stretch of the Chad-Sudan border housing more than 240,000 refugees from Darfur.
Tensions between Chad and Sudan have mounted recently with Chad accusing Khartoum of massing rebels on the border to prepare for an imminent attack.
The squabbling neighbours signed a latest peace deal on March 13 aimed at ending a five-year conflict.
The accord, signed by Chadian President Idriss Deby Itno and his Sudanese counterpart Omar al-Beshir, included undertakings from both sides not to back rebel groups active either side of the border.
At least 200,000 people have died in Sudan's restive Darfur region and 2.2 million have fled their homes since the conflict erupted in 2003, the UN says. Sudan's government puts the number of deaths at 9,000.
The conflict began when ethnic minority rebels took up arms against the Sudanese regime and Arab militia.
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