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news | June 20, 2014 | CAR | Emergency

Central African Crisis

One of the main humanitarian crises is taking place today in the Central African Republic. Almost one million people have already been forced to leave their homes. The humanitarian teams of three French NGOs are mobilized to provide a shelter for these displaced populations. A vital assistance, in a country in distress, supported by European citizens and the European Union.

What is the situation today?

In June 2014, out of a total population of 4.5 million people, almost 558,500 Central Africans are still internally displaced, out of which almost 300,000 are in Bangui. 220,000 people are refugees in neighbouring countries.

Displaced people lack everything: food, water, hygiene, sanitation, medical care, economic activity, protection and children are no longer in school.

Together, ACTED, PU-AMI and Solidarités International have built 966 shelters to assist the most vulnerable displaced people, with the support of the European Commission Humanitarian Aid department.

The context

A large scale crisis in the heart of Africa

For 10 years, the Central African territory has been marked by violence and conflicts which have caused for the forced displacement of thousands of people, affecting social and community infrastructure, as well as agriculture and individual livelihoods of populations throughout the country. Extreme poverty, is worsened by lack of infrastructure and weak government and social services. The situation of insecurity and crisis has gone downhill over the last year, further complicating all recovery and development initiatives.

 

ACTED’s mobilisation to respond to this large scale crisis

Present in CAR since 2007, with programmes in the East of CAR, as well as around Bossangoa, ACTED teams have remained in Bangui during the most intense phases of violence. ACTED provided logistic support to MSF teams and to health centres by setting up tents and through water and hygiene support. In partnership with UNICEF and within the Rapid Response Mechanism framework, our teams also carried out evaluations of the populations’ needs, organizing, with other humanitarian actors, rapid and targeted responses, in a coordinated way.

Our teams are mobilized in the airport zone and in the transit zones in Bangui with an emergency operation (with the support of the European Commission Humanitarian Aid department) to make sure that those displaced have access to basic sanitary infrastructure and to prevent diseases or water related illness, by constructing latrines, digging trenches, setting up showers and distributing plastic covers to strengthen their shelters.

Accompanying the return of displaced people

A cash for work activity was set up with the aim of accompanying the return of displaced people. The fifth and third neighbourhoods are amongst the most affected zones in Bangui and a large majority of inhabitants were forced to move to temporary sites to find security, in the M’poko airport.

To help displaced people to return to their homes, ACTED, and other actors such as the mayors of different neighbourhoods, are financially and materially supporting five local NGOs so that they can carry out cleaning, weed control and rubbish collecting activities.

Recruiting local people from the neighbourhoods to revive economic activity

Worker recruitment takes place in the neighbourhoods most affected by the crisis, and directly on the sites were displaced people are living. The money earnt by workers enables an economic revival for the neighbourhoods, and encourages populations to move back towards the neighbourhoods. Young men, inactive and easily influences by armed militia are the main people targeted by these activities.

Accompanying the return of displaced people, through community sanitation work, is an important stage which encourages economic recovery of the most affected zones. ACTED will pursue activities to support return and community recovery throughout 2014.