The European force (Eufor) is based in eastern Chad, with more than a third of its 3,200 troops stationed in the "Camp des Etoiles" outside the town of Abeche. FRANCE 24 special correspondents Virginie Herz and Nicolas Germain report.
When the first Eufor troops arrived in march, they had to build the camp des etoiles from scratch. Today 1300 soldiers live here.
It’s a logistical challenge to set up such a camp in this very hot and isolated region of eastern Chad. Goods that are needed are transferred from France to Cameroon by ship, and then by truck to Abeche. A trip that takes a minimum of thirty days
“The real challenge was to start from nothing. Six months ago it was a desert here, and now as you can see it's a small town, it's like playing the city building game sim city,” said Colonel Kemp who heads the logistics battalion.
Nearly twenty nations are represented in the camp. Each country comes with one of its specialties. The Spanish enjoy their famous jamón (ham). The French have a boulangerie and make some 900 baguettes a day.
As for the Finns, they've even brought a sauna. The temperature reaches 80 degrees Celsius inside; but this means that the soldiers then find the outside temperature of 40 degrees quite cool.
Some of the Finns say the fact of having so many nationalities here doesn't always make life easy
“It’s hard to communicate with the French guys, only a few speak good English,” said one Finnish soldier.
Among the countries represented in Eufor are Albania, Ireland, Poland and Sweden
Eufor is to become even more international with the arrival of Russians. When the mandate ends it will hand over its mission to a UN force.
Date created : 2008-09-28