15 February, 2007 - Published 12:01 GMT

Crisis in Central Africa

The aid agency Oxfam is warning about a rapidly worsening humanitarian situation in Eastern Chad.

Refugees from the fighting across the border in Sudan's Darfur region have been in Eastern Chad for some time. Now however, tensions between local groups are adding to the problem and there are tens of thousands of displaced people facing increasingly tough times.

World Today spoke to Roland van Hauwermeiren who heads the Oxfam operation in Chad.

Oxfam update

When it comes to drawing attention to crises of this kind, it helps to get big names involved.

That's why the UN children's agency, UNICEF, has for years used celebrity goodwill ambassadors. The Hollywood film star Mia Farrow -- also well-known for her marriage to filmmaker Woody Allen -- is in the Central African Republic right now for UNICEF.

She spoke to the World Today from Makounda, on the border with Chad.

Mia Farrow on the Chad border.

The roots of the trouble.

The beginning of the Darfur Crisis can be traced back to the eruption of an anti-government rebellion in the west of Sudan four years ago this month.

The government responded with bombing raids and by unleashing the militiamen who killed and raped civilians, torched villages and gave the world a new word: the Janjaweed.

At least 200,000 people have died in Darfur with two and a half million forced from their homes. Almost a quarter of a million Darfuri refugees are languishing in camps in Eastern Chad largely out of the world's sight.

Africa correspondent, Orla Guerin, has been visiting the refugees and the rebels.

Orla Guerin reports.

First broadcast 15th February 2007