International Rescue Committee (IRC)

Humanitarian aid in Central African Republic

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Decades of conflict have left the Central African Republic (CAR) one of the poorest countries in the world. Near anarchy in the wake of the most recent coup, CAR is now facing a food crisis. The International Rescue Committee's Peter Biro shot this video from the field. (Posted November 4, 2013)

Video Transcription

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Kaga Bandoro / Central African Republic

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Decades of conflict have left the Central African Republic (CAR) one of the poorest countries in the world.

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Near anarchy in the wake of the most recent coup, CAR is now facing a food crisis.

Sarah Terlouw, International Rescue Committee country director in CAR:
The populations that we work with, they were first impacted on Christmas Day 2012, which is when the rebellion came through Kaga Bandoro town, which is where IRC has its biggest base.

Ndiba village chief, in front of his ruined house:
Here, this is my house. I built it myself with my own blood, sweat and tears. The rebels burnt it and I found myself in the fields.

Sarah Terlouw:
To this day, 10 months later, they are still living in the bush off of the main roads.

Village chief:
Presently, we're only eating cassava leaves, like animals. And we drink water from the forest.

A displaced villager inside his straw hut:
Our life here, really, it’s impossible. What can I tell you? I don't have anything to eat. You see the things I have here. Today, what will I do?

Sarah Terlouw:
So these populations are trying, in the bush, in the small makeshift fields, to go through the normal harvest season, but because of the displacement it's been extremely difficult, it's been nearly impossible. When trying to do various distributions, we see them with cases of malnutrition, we see them with nothing, no supplies, just living on the ground, in their fields, maybe eating one meal a day and having no access to schools, to healthcare, to any sort of resources.

Maclean Natugasha, IRC field coordinator in Kaga Bandoro:
At the moment we're in a town called Mbrès where we are doing food distributions as an emergency response to the food insecurity that the country is facing as a result of the recent fighting that is happening in the Central African Republic. At the same moment the International Rescue Committee has plans to reach out to the same groups to give them some seedlings, some farming tools, and organize them into agriculture groups to be prepared for the next planting season.

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The IRC plans to distribute food to some 20,000 people across CAR in the coming weeks.

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We also provide emergency shelter and support for economic recovery, education and women’s empowerment programs.

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The IRC in Central African Republic