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ICRC delivers aid to 20,000 displaced persons in the north of the Central African Republic

03-07-2006 News Release 06/74

Bangui (ICRC) – The rainy season is about to start in the Central African Republic, bringing a heightened risk of disease.

The ICRC (International Committee of the Red Cross) today launched an operation that will bring aid to some 20,000 displaced persons around Paoua, Markounda and Batangafo in the north of the country.

The violence that racked the country at the end of 2005 forced people to flee their homes, emptying entire villages and bringing still more suffering to an already vulnerable population. Ever since, these people have been living in makeshift shelters near their fields, often many kilometres from their villages. They lack even the most basic necessities, such as toiletries, materials for rigging improvized shelters, blankets and mats to sleep on.

“The situation in the areas affected by violence has been made worse by endemic poverty and under-development. Given the continuing danger, these people are refusing to go home, so the ICRC decided to help them where they are, and to do so before the rainy season, which runs from the end of July through to October,” says Loukas Petridis, the ICRC’s head of mission in Bangui.

Initially, the ICRC has airlifted 8,000 tarpaulins, 24,000 mats and blankets, 4,000 buckets and 8 tonnes of soap from its stocks in Nairobi, Kenya. The operation is being conducted in cooperation with the Central African Red Cross Society and other humanitarian organizations working in the country.

In its capacity as a neutral intermediary, the ICRC reminds all parties of their obligation to comply with human rights law and is also working to promote international humanitarian law, which grants particular protection to civilians, people deprived of their freedom, the sick and the wounded.

The ICRC has b een working in the Central African Republic since 1997. Last April, the organization opened an office in Paoua (Ouham Prefecture) in the north of the country, with the aim of making reliable assessments of the needs in the area and responding to them as appropriate.

 For further information, please contact:  

 Noël Audhasse Ngaoza, ICRC Bangui, tel +236 61 11 74  

 Nicolas Vako, ICRC Yaoundé, tel +237 222 5859,  

 Marco Jiménez, ICRC Geneva, tel +41 22 734 6001 & +41 79 217 3217