Humanitarian Crisis continues in the Central African Republic
Fighting between Christian and Muslim groups in the Central African Republic (CAR) has forced thousands of people to leave their homes. At least 400 people have been killed this month alone, and many more have been injured. Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court Fatou Bensouda said about the continuing decline of safety in CAR, “The deteriorating security situation over the past several days has contributed to the escalation of unlawful killings, sexual violence, recruitment of child soldiers and other grave crimes, across the country.” Because of the unsafe conditions currently present in Bangui, tens of thousands of its citizens have fled the city, seeking refuge elsewhere.
Around 40,000 are currently residing outside a French military base near Bangui airport, which is considered one of the safest places in close proximity to the city. This massive influx of people trying to escape the violence has left the base in a state of humanitarian crisis. While there are some aid associations providing food and water, many consider the area too dangerous, and there is still a lack of these basic human needs. Shelter is a concern as well; very few people have tents or other ways of getting out of the hot African sun. The situation that these people are faced with has been blogged about by Christine Hauser of the New York Times, following two humanitarian workers in their work in CAR. Thousands are living without medical treatment, and one room has been set up as a hospital for the entire refugee population at the airport; tables serve as beds and medical care is basic, at best. Without proper care, malaria, chest infections, and other diseases that are normally not overwhelmingly present are spreading quickly due to overcrowded conditions. These illnesses are largely going untreated.
The French have recently sent in more troops to try to disarm the militia, the perpetrator of many of the crimes that have scared people out of their homes. While they are doing their best, conflict still rages between the Christian and Muslim groups. With gas stations reopening, some sense of normalcy is beginning to return, but it will take time for people to return to the city to assess if they can even go back to their homes, and their homes may have been too damaged by fighting and looting to salvage. Until they can determine if it’s safe to return, they have no choice but to continue living in the camps, where at least they have a sense of relative safety.
To donate to the humanitarian effort in CAR that distributes food, water, and shelter to refugees, click here.