120,000 people forced to flee as a result of violence
For more than two years, the North-West region of the Central-African Republic has been subject to major acts of violence. This has resulted in villages being burnt down and looted. Due to rebel movements fighting against the central government of Bangui and the repression of the Central African army, more than 120,000 people have been forced to flee their villages, seeking refuge in the surrounding savannah or towns. In addition to this, there is the constant threat of insecurity due to crime and highwaymen. Some families have been staying in makeshift camps close to their fields for over a year. A further 70,000 people have left the country to seek refuge in neighbouring Chad or Cameroon.
Lack of food, water and sanitation
People displaced by the violence have lost all their belongings including farming tools and seeds.Without seeds and having used up their few reserves, people are left with little prospects for the medium or long term. The situation is especially serious as the next farming season is approaching.
In addition, people have very limited access to drinking water. The quantity of water available is estimated at about 7 litres per person per day (while WHO recommends 20 litres of water per person per day in a situation of crisis). For fear of being attacked, women and children will not return to their villages to draw water. People are using contaminated water from dirty backwaters and rivers. Insufficient access to water and lack of hygiene are leading to diarrhoeal and skin diseases with serious consequences for young children.
With the rainy season approaching in June, a rapid increase in the number of mosquitoes in addition to people's precarious living conditions risks leading to an increase in the number of malaria cases. The number of cases of malnutrition and malaria among under-five-year-olds is already increasing. Families are unable to go to the market or health centres in the towns, as roads are very insecure. The humanitarian situation gives rise to great concern.
Action Against Hunger will distribute seeds (maize, sorghum) for the next farming season in the Markounda and Boguila regions (on the border between Chad and the Central-African Republic) as well as food (maize, vegetables, cereals, oil, sugar, salt etc.) to some 3,000 families (i.e. approx. 15,000 people). At the same time, Action Against Hunger teams will launch hygiene-promotion activities and programmes to rehabilitate wells as well as distributing 'hygiene kits'. The main problem, however, remains the widespread insecurity in the country.