Months of unrest have left the people of Central African Republic in a desperate situation. Already living in poverty, when violence occurs they flee to the bush and return to find homes destroyed and little remaining, explained Patrick L'Hote, head of operations for central and southern Africa, during a recent visit to London.
Sectarian clashes between Muslim and Christian communities were a worrying new phenomenon in CAR, said L'Hote, who was speaking before the December violence in the capital Bangui that left many dead and precipitated French military intervention. The ICRC's priorities are to try to assist those who have had to flee their homes, and to improve medical services in the north-east of the country. In Bangui the ICRC will try to improve surgical capabilities, which have struggled to cope with an influx of war-wounded casualties.