Since June, clashes between armed groups have forced almost the entire population of the regional capital Bria to flee for their lives in the Haut-Kotto province of eastern CAR.
“We are worried about the situation in the city and we call the humanitarian community to support the organisations already in the area to assist us,” says Fatimatou Sai who fled for her life and now seeks shelter in a hospital.
The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) estimates that nine in ten of the important mining towns’s 47,000-strong population have fled their homes because of the violence. The sudden attack forced people to flee without preparation, leaving behind most of their belongings.
People killed despite peace agreement
A peace deal signed by 13 of the country’s 14 armed groups in June brought hope of peace to the war raged country. But hopes faded when over 50 people were killed in fighting that broke out the same day.
The number of displaced people east in the country has now reached the huge numbers of August 2014, when the armed group Seleka looted and killed civilians after a failed political transition period. Today, former members of the group, known as ex-Seleka, fighting the Christian anti-Balaka, has led to the current high displacement numbers.
Living in poor conditions
“Those 43,000 displaced persons live in dire conditions since the beginning of this crisis. Lack of access to health services, drinking water, and adequate shelters are some of the issues that worsened with the conflict,” says NRC staff member Severin Modowanza.
People have fled to seven locations across the region, including two churches and one hospital.
Here, the situation is critical. As the needs for emergency assistance are outweighing the capacity of humanitarian organisations on the ground, people fleeing the violence call for life-saving assistance.
The Norwegian Refugee Council is continuously working to secure the rights of displaced people in CAR through legal assistance. We also strive to bring life-saving assistance, like food and shelter, to the thousands displaced by the conflict.
- Since its independence in 1960, the Central African Republic has experienced a continuous political crisis, with dictatorship, military coup and rebellion.
- In December 2012, civil war broke out between the predominantly Muslim rebel group, Seleka from marginalized northern areas and the Christian militia anti-Balaka.
- In March 2012, Seleka ousted the sitting president, Francois Bozizé. Seleka's leader Michel Djotodia became president, but had to resign in January 2014 after strong international pressure.
- During this period, the number of internally displaced persons and refugees increased dramatically. In addition, the security situation made it almost impossible to reach humanitarian aid in many parts of the country.
- Between April and June this year, violence has sparked in the east of the country leaving people killed or forced to flee.