An ICRC team has been present in Paoua since Thursday 30 November to assess the needs of thousands of displaced people who have fled their villages in recent days due to fighting or fear of attack, and are seeking refuge around the town and are now providing them with support.
More than 17,000 people have arrived in Paoua, including thousands of children. Most came empty handed and have sought refuge around the church, the health centre, with host families or simply under the trees. Their situation remains precarious in the extreme. "We left everything behind when we fled our homes," explained one village head. "Our sesame and bean crops are ripe and need to be harvested. We will lose our crops, too, if we can't go home soon."
A distribution of food and essential household items, carried out by the ICRC in partnership with the Red Cross Centrafricaine began last Sunday for 1,400 displaced families amounting to some 8,500 peple coming from the direction Pende-Paoua. The distribution will come to an end on Tuesday. Another distribution is foreseen in the coming days for a further 1,300 displaced families from villages between Betoko and Paoua.
Jerrycans will be distributed to each family, and a team of ICRC engineers and technicians are on the spot and are about to start start work at water points in Paoua where the pumps that are broken or in poor repair.
"Our partners, including volunteers of the Red Cross of the Central African Republic (CRCA) have helped us from the start to respond to this crisis. The CRCA has played a crucial role in the good organization and implementation of the distributions," said Daniel Cabello Llamas, ICRC economic security delegate deployed to Paoua.