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Central African Republic: thousands suffer the effects of armed violence in Bria

10-11-2011 News Release

Bangui (ICRC) – The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is currently bringing aid to around a thousand families whose houses were destroyed or seriously damaged in clashes between two armed groups in the city of Bria in September.

"In many parts of the city, the damage is considerable. In all, over 700 houses are in ruins," said Céline Buvelot, an ICRC delegate working in the area. "Most residents had to flee the fighting as quickly as possible, and left practically all their belongings behind. Many were taken in by families in neighbourhoods that were less affected, but some had no choice but to seek refuge in the bush. Their situation is very difficult. We are providing them with supplies to meet their most urgent needs."

In partnership with the Central African Red Cross Society, the ICRC is distributing such essential items as tarpaulins, blankets, sleeping mats, basins, soap, jerrycans and kitchen utensils. In addition, after chlorinating some 50 wells, the ICRC is now repairing seven water pumps in the area of Bria that was hardest hit.

The north-east of the Central African Republic has been the scene of sporadic violence between armed groups for several months. As a result, several thousand civilians have been displaced and many houses and even entire villages have been destroyed.

"Unfortunately, in these hostilities there has been little regard for the physical well-being and the property of civilians," said Katharina Ritz, the head of the ICRC delegation in Bangui. "We remind all parties concerned of their obligation to spare civilians at all times."

Throughout the year, the ICRC has endeavoured to protect and assist people adversely affected by armed conflict in areas of north-eastern Central African Republic such as Tiringoulou, Ndélé and Akoursoulbak, as well as Bria.

The ICRC is an impartial, neutral and independent organization. Its exclusively humanitarian mission is to assist victims of armed conflict and other violence and to protect their lives and dignity.

For further information, please contact:
Perry Proellochs, ICRC Bangui, tel: +236 72 07 69 64