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Central African Republic: ICRC activities from January to May 2008

22-08-2008 Operational Update

An overview of the ICRC's humanitarian activities in Central African Republic from January to May 2008

During the period under review, the ICRC has been monitoring the humanitarian situation in the north of the Central African Republic (CAR) through its three sub-delegations (in Paoua, Kaga-Bandoro and Birao) and has carried out activities to promote respect of civilians and their property. Working with volunteers from the Central African Red Cross Society, the organization has provided aid to thousands of displaced persons and to the host communities. In addition, it has carried out regular visits to persons deprived of liberty, particularly those who have been arrested in connection with the conflict, and has monitored the state of health and the detention conditions of prison populations in the CAR.

More extensive ICRC presence enables the organization to stay close to the population groups affected by the conflict and to promote the awareness of all parties of the obligation to respect civilians and their property.

 
Assistance 
 

 Providing access to basic necessities for displaced persons and host communities  

    

Working in partnership with Central African Red Cross volunteers, the ICRC has provided displaced persons with emergency aid in the form of essential items, seeds and agricultural tools.

Between January and May 2008, the organization:

  • supplied 9,438 blankets, 4,854 tarpaulins, 9,480 sleeping mats, 4,431 cooking utensils, 10,494 buckets, 27,500 bars of soap and 5,206 mosquito nets to 55,857 people (10,946 families) in the prefectures of Ouham, Ouham-Pendé, Nana-Gribizi and Vakaga;

  • distributed 17,089 hoes and agricultural seed aid to 47,635 people (9,646 families);

  • and repaired 40 ploughs.

 Facilitating the supply of drinking water and improving hygiene conditions  

    

The ICRC has continued its work to repair water supply networks and to promote hygiene in the northern regions affected by the conflict.

During the period from January to May 2008 the organization:

  • repaired 5 hand pumps (replacing 1 of them), rebuilt 2 traditional wells (and work is continuing on 9 others), sank 1 new well, drilled 5 boreholes (and is currently drilling a further 13), and protected 2 natural springs (with work continuing on a further 4), benefiting 10,540 people;

  • built 288 individual and 13 communal latrines (6 currently under construction) for 2,744 beneficiaries;

  • started work on renovating a health post (for 8,147 people);

  • provided 377 families affected by the conflict with supplies for rebuilding or reinforcing their homes;

  • held hygiene awareness sessions in 75 villages (covering 5,250 people) in the north of the country.

A total of 28,500 people have benefited from this aid.

 
 

 
Protection 
 
 

 Visiting persons deprived of liberty and ensuring that their dignity is respected  

    

The organization has conducted regular visits to individual detainees being held in prisons and police and gendarmerie jails and has assessed the state of health and living conditions of all prison populations.

Since January 2008, the ICRC:

  • has visited 1,000 detainees in 36 places of detention and helped to improve the health situation of prison populations;

  • has distributed soap, buckets and brooms to the detainees in the 36 places of detention visited;

  • has distributed medical supplies and basic medicines in the Ngaragba, Bimbo, Bossangoa and Sibut prisons;

  • has been monitoring the prison garden project in Bossangoa prison;

  • has been monitoring the nutritional situation in Bimbo, Ngaragba, Sibut, Bossangoa and Bossembélé prisons;

  • has enabled detainees to keep in touch with their families.

 Facilitating the exchange of family news and restoring family links  

    

Thanks to the Red Cross message service, the ICRC has enabled displaced persons and Sudanese refugees in the CAR to get in touch with their families again.

During the period under review, the organization:

  • in partnership with the ICRC delegation in Congo-Brazzaville, reunited three Congolese child re fugees from the DRC who were sheltering in Congo-Brazzaville, with their families;

  • collected and distributed 180 Red Cross messages enabling civilians, including refugees, to keep in touch with their relatives.

 
Promoting international humanitarian law 
 

 Raising awareness to promote respect of the civilian population  

    

The ICRC has continued its awareness-raising activities with a view to making its mandate and activities better known and promoting international humanitarian law (IHL) in the armed and security forces, armed opposition groups, the public authorities, the media and the academic world.