Appeal increased to support more families displaced by violence in Central African Republic

Publié: 22 août 2014 15:52 CET

By Nelly Muluka, IFRC

The impact of the violence that erupted in Central African Republic (CAR) in December continues to bite, seven months down the line. Although humanitarian organisations are responding to the situation, the process of reconstruction and return to normality is likely to take longer to be realised, especially if the violence persists.

Noel Ngairoufei, 55, is staying at an IDP camp in Bangui with his family after they were uprooted from Sibut. “It was a terrible experience. Everything happened so quickly that we were caught unawares. There were rumours of war from time to time, but nothing was certain. Then Bangui erupted! Although the fighting was far away from Sibut, my two sons were in Bangui studying at the university and that left me a worried man; I started planning on how to evacuate them to Sibut,” he says.

However, the town soon became engulfed in the violence. “We were pondering over what had happened in Bangui. Suddenly, we heard sounds of gunshots, people were screaming and wailing. As the shooting came nearer, we had to escape! We did not have time to take anything, we just carried the children and ran to the bushes where we stayed for several days, before taking the risk of walking to Bangui,” Ngairoufei says.

The family walked from Sibut to Bangui, at times hiding in the bushes to stay safe. It took them several days but they finally made it. Little did they know what awaited.

“Before the violence, I was teaching in Sibut and my wife was a farmer. She owned a stall at the market, selling farm produce. Our two sons who were studying in Bangui were then living in our family house. However, on arrival, we saw our house had been looted and damaged and the boys displaced,” says Ngairoufei.

The family lost everything. According to Ngairoufei, in Sibut, the house, the farm, the granary and the market stall were all looted.

The family’s story is a common one.

From the onset of the violence, the Central African Red Cross Society has been responding to the violence that has displaced almost 600,000 people. At least 103,400 IDPs are living in 43 camps in Bangui as of July, a figure that has reduced from 153,805 in May 2014. Others are spread in several other camps in the provinces of CAR and in neighbouring countries. The reduction of the number of IDPs living in camps in Bangui has been attributed to the attack on the Fatima church in Bangui on 28 May 2014.

The International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) launched an initial emergency appeal of 1,136,640 Swiss francs to assist 50,000 people over 12 months. A Red Cross assessment between March and July 2014, revealed that needs in the region had increased, and the IFRC has revised the appeal to support more people, inside and outside Bangui. The Revised Appeal targets 10,488, 012 Swiss francs to support an additional 30,000 families in 23 areas inside and outside Bangui for 12 months. Antoine Mbao Bogo, president of the society says the needs went well beyond the boundaries of the city. “Most of the humanitarian actors have concentrated their efforts in Bangui but according to our countrywide assessment, the situation for affected families outside Bangui is equally bad; there are emergency health, water and sanitation, shelter, protection and food security needs in several other areas,” he says.