IRC Emergency Team Launches Relief Mission in Central African Republic
“People are facing a dire situation in northern regions of the country,” says Bob Kitchen, who is leading the IRC mission. “Villages and farms are being attacked and torched. People are running for cover and hiding out in places where there’s essentially no food, water, shelter or medical services.”
Fighting between soldiers and rebel forces in and around northeastern Birao has prompted thousands of people to flee toward Sudan, which is embroiled in its own violent conflict. The displaced have scattered around the dangerous border area and are very difficult to reach with humanitarian aid.
Tens of thousands more people are displaced in the densely populated northwest as violence between government troops and different rebel groups ravage that region.
In total, the violence has forced nearly 70,000 people into Chad and Cameroon and displaced an estimated 150,000 people within Central African Republic.
In the coming days, the IRC team plans to travel by road towards Kaga Bandoro, some 300 kilometers north of the capital Bangui. The area is overridden with displaced people in desperate need of assistance. The town is also a key access point to volatile areas to the east and west.
The emergency team, which includes medical, water and sanitation experts, will initially focus on health and water concerns, procuring emergency supplies, and addressing the special needs of women and children.