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Central African Republic: ICRC aids the displaced

21-06-2007 News Release 07/13

The ICRC has for the first time come to the aid of some 6,500 people who have taken refuge in the town of Kaga-Bandoro, 250 km north-east of the capital, Bangui.

They have been living in harsh conditions since they fled their villages in the area half a year ago following an outbreak of fighting between the armed opposition in the north-west of the country and government forces.

" The northern part of the Republic is prone to armed violence, " explained Jean-Nicolas Marti, head of the ICRC delegation, " and the situation there remains one of great concern to us. " As the rainy season approached and roads became impassable, he said, living conditions for the most vulnerable among the population could be expected to deteriorate further.

This week's aid delivery was planned to precede the rains and thus ensure the beneficiaries have essential items such as tarpaulins, mats, blankets, soap, basins, and cooking kits. The operation, which is being carried out in conjunction with volunteers from the Central African Red Cross Society, will continue for several weeks.

The ICRC opened an office in Kaga-Bandoro last April in order to better meet the aid and protection needs of people affected by the violence.

The ICRC's delegation in the Central African Republic currently has 20 expatriate and 60 locally hired staff. Apart from its relief activities, it works across the country with bearers of weapons, the political authorities, academic milieux and civil society to promote compliance with international humanitarian law.

  For further information, please contact:
  Jean Nicolas Marti, ICRC Bangui, tel +236 611 174
  Latif Abdou Mbake, ICRC Bangui, tel +236 611 014
  Anna Schaaf, ICRC Geneva, tel +41 22 730 22 71 or +41 79 217 32 17