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Last Updated: Thursday, 5 August, 2004, 09:14 GMT 10:14 UK
Chad seeks refugee aid from IMF
Refugees from Darfur pump water across the border in Chad
The refugee influx is straining resources in Chad
Chad has asked the International Monetary Fund for a loan to help it deal with the thousands of refugees who have crossed its border with Sudan.

The influx, said Finance Minister Ahmat Hawat Sakhine at an IMF conference, was straining Chad's resources severely.

The refugees are fleeing fighting in Darfur in western Sudan between rebels and government-backed Arab militias.

An IMF team is due in Chad in three weeks to assess its progress on poverty reduction measures.

Chad is hoping that the visit will help it with gaining debt relief.

Mr Sakhine was attending a meeting with the IMF's new managing director Rodrigo Rato and other central African nations in Gabon.

Refugee crisis

The IMF says that Chad, which has recently started pumping oil, has to ensure its finances are in order before the mission arrives.

1m displaced
Up to 50,000 killed
More at risk from disease and starvation
Arab militias accused of ethnic cleansing
Sudan blames rebels for starting conflict

But the government says the crisis in Darfur - which the United Nations says has killed 30,000 and driven more than a million people from their homes - is digging deep into its scarce resources and pushing up prices.

"It is creating enormous difficulties, because there are more than 100,000 refugees and we are a very poor country," Mr Sakhine told reporters.

France has deployed a detachment of 200 soldiers - on top of the 1,000 or so already helping train Chad's armed forces - to help secure the border and assist with bringing humanitarian aid to the refugees.

Sudan has reluctantly agreed to comply with a UN Security Council resolution ordering it to rein in the militias, although it says the resolution was unnecessary and premature.

The BBC's Ishbel Matheson reports from Chad
"Aid agencies say the survival of these refugees is on a knife edge"

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