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Central African Republic: humanitarian aid reaches Marazé for first time

25-09-2008 News Release 08/179

Bangui (ICRC) – The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), through its Kaga-Bandoro sub-delegation, has for the first time delivered humanitarian aid to some 7,800 people living in the 26 villages situated on the main road between Bouca and Marazé, in the Bouca sub-prefecture of north-eastern Central African Republic.

The emergency supplies (tarpaulins, blankets, mosquito nets, buckets, soap, hoes, sleeping mats, clothing and household items) were delivered to people who had fled the fighting between government forces and the Armée populaire pour la restauration de la République et la démocratie (APRD) in 2006 and 2007, and also to people displaced more recently by the attacks of highwaymen in May 2008. Most lost their possessions as they fled, or in brushfires. The area's remoteness, the poor condition of the roads and the lack of security made their living conditions all the more difficult.

" The biggest logistical challenge is to bring aid from Bouca to the people, " explained Barbara Lecq, an ICRC delegate based in Kaga-Bandoro. " The roads cannot be used by large vehicles because of the condition of 10 bridges made of old metal girders, branches and vines. Small four-wheel-drive vehicles have to make several trips to deliver the supplies to the beneficiaries. "

The aid operation, carried out in cooperation with volunteers from the Central African Red Cross Society, is " a source of hope and should enable the beneficiaries to rebuild their lives during this rainy season, " declared the village chief of Boya II.

In addition to distributing essential supplies to displaced people, the Kaga-Bandoro sub-delegation, which opened in February 2007, helps to provide safe drinking water for the local population and spreads knowledge of the basic rules of international humanitarian law among weapon bearers. It also provides support for local Red Cross chapters helping needy people.

For further information, please contact:
  Latif Mbake, ICRC Bangui, tel. +236 21 611 014 or +236 75 54 72 46
  Marçal Izard, ICRC Geneva, tel. +41 22 730 24 58 or +41 79 217 32 24