IRC helps returnees rebuild their homes in Central African Republic
"So far, 80 homes have been entirely reconstructed, but we expect to increase the work dramatically in the next months," said Gina Bramucci, the IRC's protection coordinator in the CAR.
In 2004, anti-government rebels took up arms in an effort to depose the government. By early 2006, tens of thousands of people from Nana Gribizi had fled their homes after being caught in a crossfire between rebel forces and government troops. Some escaped over the border into Chad, while others were forced to live under terrible conditions deep in the bush.
After a peace deal was signed last year, displaced people started moving back to their villages. Starting early this year, an IRC protection team identified the most vulnerable people, including orphans, the elderly, the disabled and others in need of housing and support, Bramucci said. "Most buildings in the area have been destroyed and we have organized village working groups that help rebuild houses from scratch."
The IRC is assisting the displaced with water and sanitation, health, protection, education and gender-based-violence prevention programs. IRC teams have drilled 35 wells and another 35 are under construction. The IRC is supporting several rural clinics and the hospital in the regional capital Kaga Bandoro and has helped survivors of sexual violence with medical and psychosocial services. The IRC has helped some 3,500 students return to school by training volunteer teachers. In addition, the IRC has trained over 500 rebel soldiers, army officers and members of a multi-national peacekeeping force in human rights and international humanitarian law.
Bramucci said that the displaced have been moving between bush encampments and their original villages when conditions permitted.
"Overall there has been a gradual improvement in the security situation which has enabled us to help reopen schools and health centers. This has in turn drawn many displaced people back to their villages on a more permanent basis," she said.