A rebel takeover of several key towns in the Central African Republic (CAR) has placed additional strain on humanitarian conditions that were already precarious due to years of armed conflict. Access to populations in need and aid personnel on the ground are now significantly reduced.
That the rebels – grouped under the “Seleka” alliance – were able to advance to within 160km of the capital, Bangui, with little opposition from government forces underscores the absence of state infrastructure in much of the country. In many areas, basic healthcare and education are provided by aid groups or not at all.
“Population displacements have been reported in a number of areas, including Bangui, Ndélé and across the border into the Democratic Republic of Congo, from the Mobaye region in CAR and towards Bertoua in Cameroon,” the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in a recent update.
“There are serious concerns about the protection of civilians across the country amid reports of widespread looting and violence. An estimated 316,000 people are living in the affected areas, and some 700,000 persons in Bangui are at further risk of an escalation in fighting,” the update said.
“A few humanitarian partners are responding to the most urgent emergency needs of displaced people in Ndélé and other areas, but temporary evacuations of humanitarian staff from affected areas due to the violence have disrupted a number of humanitarian programs across the country,” it added. The grounding of UN aircraft, “the primary means of transport around CAR,” has also limited the activities of partners on the ground.
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CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC: Rebel advance worsens humanitarian crisis