Bangui / Geneva - The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is alarmed by the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Bangui, the capital of the Central African Republic (CAR), following days of violence. The ICRC says aid workers must be given access to help those in need and the civilian population and infrastructure, especially medical personnel and facilities, should not be targeted.
"The violence is affecting the population greatly and preventing us from providing the level of assistance that is needed. Stopping humanitarian organizations from doing their work puts lives at risk. The looting of the premises of humanitarian organizations is also to be condemned as it further hinders our ability to help the population, especially the wounded and sick," said the head of the ICRC in CAR, Jean-François Sangsue.
During the past few days, medical staff and facilities have been struggling to provide care to people wounded during the clashes. ICRC surgical teams had been working to assist the Bangui's Community Hospital in dealing with the influx of wounded. "Unfortunately, we have not been able to work since Sunday afternoon because of the deterioration in the security situation. We need to be allowed to resume our activities as soon as possible," said Jean-François Sangsue.
The ICRC operations are continuing in the rest of the country and the organization is ready to resume its activities in the capital as soon as security permits.
Humanitarian aid must be allowed to reach those in need. Armed forces and groups must not impede the delivery of relief supplies and the red cross emblem must be respected. Medical neutrality must also be respected and medical personnel, equipment and vehicles must be granted safe passage.
For further information, please contact:
Thierry Mugisho, CICR Bangui, tel. : +236 75 27 25 29
Claire Kaplun, CICR Geneva, tel. : +41 22 730 31 49 ou +41 79 244 64 05