Central African Republic: Humanitarian situation continues to deteriorate
GENEVA, Switzerland, October 18, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Violence in the western town of Yaloké has forced people to take refuge in the bush, following similar events in Bouca and Bossangoa. The ICRC and the Central African Red Cross Society are distributing food and burying the dead.
“Renewed intercommunal tension in the main towns of the country is especially worrying, as is the violence of recent weeks in Bouca, Bossangoa and, more recently, in Yaloké,” said ICRC delegation head Georgios Georgantas. “The local population suffer the most, with men, women and children all living in fear. Many have fled their villages, afraid of further attacks.”
Volunteers from the Central African Red Cross Society have buried more than 120 bodies in recent weeks. The ICRC is calling on all armed groups and the authorities to protect people and refrain from harming them.
“This humanitarian crisis has been going on for over 10 months,” said Mr Georgantas. “Tens of thousands of people are still hiding out in the bush. Their situation is worsening by the day. They’re living in terror, deprived of food, water and medical care.”
“Another worrying aspect is that government services have broken down, with the State unable to carry out its tasks, especially as regards health care,” he added. No health facilities are operating outside the capital Bangui, with the exception of those provided by humanitarian organizations. There is a shortage of medicines. Health centres are closed or have been looted.
“In situations of armed violence, access to health care is a top priority,” the head of delegation stated. “It’s often a matter of life and death.”
Over the last month, the ICRC and the Central African Red Cross Society have:
• distributed food to 6,200 people in Bouca (a one-month ration of maize, beans, oil and salt), along with such essentials as kitchen utensils, mattresses, mosquito nets, plastic sheeting, blankets, etc.;
• built 64 latrines in Bossangoa;
• promoted hygiene to displaced people (Central African Red Cross Society volunteers);
• started to distribute cloth for clothing and over 5,000 mosquito nets to 7,000 people in Bossangoa;
• dealt with bodies (50 in Bossangoa, 43 in Bouca and 32 in Yaloké);
• provided first-aid training for some 50 people from all communities in Bouca and Bossangoa;
• supported 16 patients in Kaga Bandoro hospital;
• staged four drama performances in Kaga Bandoro, to raise awareness among weapons bearers and the general population of the need to respect hospitals and other health facilities;
• set up a protective barrier around the main hospital of the préfecture;
• provided health care for some 6,200 people in Nana-Gribizi préfecture between 14 September and 12 October, via mobile ICRC medical teams;
• held antenatal sessions for 380 women as part of the above operation;
• reunited 10 children with their parents;
• produced 250,000 litres of water a day in Ndélé, benefiting over 10,000 people;
• visited some 60 detainees in Bangui, to check that they were being treated with dignity and humanity.
International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)