Bangui, Central African Republic , February 1, 2021 — The International Rescue Committee (IRC) is extremely concerned about the rapidly deteriorating humanitarian situation in the Central African Republic (CAR) following escalating violence in recent days. Over 200,000 people have already been displaced of which nearly half have fled across borders causing additional strains and instability in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Cameroon. Rising food prices and lack of humanitarian access has meant that in a context where 40% of the population were already in need of food aid, the current crisis risks exacerbating humanitarian needs and increasing human suffering, particularly if the situation continues long term. The humanitarian response plan also remains underfunded , crippling the ability for humanitarian organisations to respond to need even before this most recent crisis. The IRC calls for all parties to commit to and uphold International Humanitarian Law, commit to de-escalating the crisis and providing essential access to blocked supply routes.
Kate Moger, Regional Vice President at IRC said,
“Humanitarian aid in CAR is at best disrupted, and at worst - under attack. Due to insecurity and direct threats and attacks against humanitarians, many humanitarian actors including IRC have had to suspend operations which means 2.8 million people in need of humanitarian aid are not receiving vital services. Widespread reports of sexual violence against civilians are unacceptable and constitutes serious violations of international humanitarian law. The central supply route into CAR's capital; Bangui, is currently closed, meaning that basic necessities and humanitarian aid is blocked. It is critical that this route is reopened immediately. The IRC calls on the international community to use their influence to de-escalate the conflict and warn parties to the conflict to respect International Humanitarian Law including protection of civilians; women; children, and humanitarian workers. All parties to the conflict must also facilitate unimpeded access to aid for those in need and protect as well as respect the independence and neutrality of humanitarian workers. ”
The IRC has been operating in CAR since 2006 and has supported thousands of people whose lives and livelihoods are shattered by conflict and disaster to survive, recover and gain control of their future. Today the IRC supports conflict-affected host communities, returnees and internally displaced communities. The IRC works in four sectors in CAR: Women’s Protection and Empowerment (WPE), Child and Youth Protection and Development (CYPD), Economic Recovery and Development (ERD), and Health. The IRC implements projects in Bangui area and locations in the Western part of the country within the prefectures of: Ombella-M’poko, Ouham-Pendé, Nana-Gribizi, and more recently Haut-Mbomou (South-East).