Central African Republic: ICRC helps displaced people in Vakaga
21-08-2009 News Release 09/167
Bangui (ICRC) – The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has just distributed food, seed, farming tools and other relief items to more than 6,700 people who have fled their homes in Vakaga prefecture, some 800 km northeast of Bangui.
In May 2009, tensions between various armed groups came to a head in Vakaga and several villages were attacked, forcing residents to flee into the bush. One month later, two attacks on Birao, the prefecture's capital, led to the displacement of the city's inhabitants, while residents of surrounding villages sought refuge in Birao itself. Many people living in outlying neighbourhoods, fearing future attacks, made their way to the town centre.
" The fighting occurred at the start of the rainy season, a critical period of the year, " said Jules Amoti, the ICRC's coordinator for economic security programmes in Bangui. " Many families didn't have time to take what they needed with them. Their living conditions are difficult since they lack shelter, cooking implements, food and basic hygiene. "
Working in conjunction with volunteers from the Central African Red Cross Society, the ICRC has organized several distributions since late May to help people affected by the violence. Seventy tonnes of corn, 23 tonnes of groundnuts and one tonne of iodized salt have been distributed to more than 6,700 people to meet their most immediate food needs. Most of them also received hoes and millet and sorghum seed.
These households live mainly from farming, and this help should enable them to use the 2009 harvest to ensure their self-sufficiency in food.
In an effort to improve general living conditions, another 2,700 people were provided with tarpaulins while 1,800 people were given tarpaulins, blankets, mats, mosquit o nets, kitchen utensils and other relief items.For further information, please contact:
Kelnor Panglungtshang, ICRC Bangui, tel. +236 21 611 014 or +236 75 54 72 46
Marçal Izard, ICRC Geneva, tel. +41 22 730 2458 or +41 79 217 3224