Photo credits: © L Grosjean
Humanitarian situation reaches new heights in Bossangoa
We scale up aid efforts in the town of Bossangoa, which has been paralysed by violent clashes.
Dec 13 2013
The already challenging humanitarian situation in Bossangoa, a northwestern town in the Central African Republic, has deteriorated further as thousands of people continue to flee their homes in search of safety, gathering in two makeshift camps.
Over the past two months, an estimated 40,000 Christians have sought refuge at a crammed makeshift camp around a Catholic church compound. At the other end of the town, where a makeshift camp sprang up at the Liberte School, the number of Muslims seeking refuge swelled from around 1,600 displaced persons to 7,000 in the past week alone. Within days, the town’s entire Muslim community fled to the Liberte site, amidst violent clashes which peaked on 5th December. Displaced people are seeking protection and assistance in the two camps which are only supported by a few humanitarian organisations including Action Against Hunger.
Responding to a precarious humanitarian situation
‘We no longer recognise the makeshift camp around the Ecole Liberte school,’ said Action Against Hunger’s Alexis Ottenwalter from Bossangoa. ‘The number of displaced people increased fourfold in just a few days with people crammed into a tiny space. Water, sanitation and hygiene needs are huge given that the camp only has one water source, increasing the risk of disease outbreaks.’
Our Water, Sanitation & Hygiene experts have already installed a 20,000 litres water tank and are focusing activities on preventing the outbreak of epidemics by building latrines, taking care of wastewater and waste management. Working in close collaboration with other humanitarian agencies we aim to improve the conditions in the camp and prepare for further arrivals of displaced persons.
An estimated 1.5 million people are in need of assistance in Central African Republic as a result of the ongoing crises and the collapse of the already fragile health system.
The situation came to a head earlier this year, when the government was overthrown. Since then, the humanitarian situation has worsened and thousands of people already living on the brink of survival are now facing even more challenges.
We've been present in Central African Republic since 2006 and are currently implementing activities in Bangui, Bossangoa and Kemo. Beyond supporting health centres and treating malnourished children, we are working to prevent the outbreak of life-threatening diseases and will be providing families with vouchers for food, helping farmers maintain their plots, and supporting local markets. Our goal is to restore self-sufficiency and normalcy for all families affected by the crisis in the Central African Republic.
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