Renewed violence in Central African Republic worsens humanitarian situation

The new outbreak of violence in Central African Republic (CAR) with militias clashing in the east of the country has result in thousands of new displaced people in urgent need of water, food and shelter, said Oxfam today. The situation remains tense as humanitarian access is restricted due to the presence of armed groups in the city of Bria.

Oxfam is present in Bria, eastern Central African Republic, where 20,000 people have already gathered around the town's U.N. base. Bria has been the scene of intense fighting over recent days. People are afraid to return to their homes as rumors of new attacks spread.

Ferran Puig, Oxfam Country Director in Central African Republic said: “The humanitarian situation in Bria is really worrisome and insecurity is hindering our work, making it extremely difficult to provide aid to those in need. Many houses have been burnt and looted. Oxfam staff have been forced to leave the compound in search of safe refuge as the house of the national staff was looted. Some of them are also displaced in the site due to insecurity in their neighborhoods."

One Oxfam staff member in Bria explained: “We are getting increasingly concerned about the level of sanitation in the site, especially with the current rainy season in full swing. Latrines are no longer sufficient for new arrivals and the distance from some of the tents is less than one meter away meaning that disease can spread easily”.

“The renewed violence makes it even more important for UN peacekeepers to improve the protection of civilians exposed to bloody fighting. We urge MINUSCA to increase its patrols in the city to facilitate humanitarian access,” added Puig.

Central African Republic is one of the poorest countries in the world and has been plunged into a dramatic crisis which has left half of the population dependant on humanitarian aid. However, only 16% of the United Nations appeal has been funded to cover the response.

Notes to editors

1. Spokespeople are available in CAR in English, French and Spanish.

2. Images of the internal displaced camp in Bria taken this week (medium quality – for online use) http://bit.ly/2qB4ZfD and http://bit.ly/2qB1Dsw

3. Our report, Unprotected zones. The suffering of the civilian population in Haute-Kotto: https://www.oxfam.org/en/research/central-african-republic-unprotected-zones

Contact information

Júlia Serramitjana | Phone: (+236) 72 85 09 55 | medocf@oxfamintermon.org

skype: julia.serramitjana | @oxfamenrca