Central African Republic: Situation Report, 2 March 2021

Situation Report
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In Bossangoa, thousands of displaced people need humanitarian assistance and protection.

Clashes in Bambari in mid-February temporarily displaced thousands, left 36 people injured and dozens of shelters burned.

A surge in violence has displaced over 276,000 people within the Central African Republic since mid-December. To meet the most urgent needs in 2021, humanitarian partners plan to assist 1.84 million people, for what they will require US$ 444.7 million.

In 2021, 2.8 million Central Africans – more than half of the population – will need humanitarian assistance and protection.


Bossangoa: Multiple challenges to overcome

More than 14,000 people have been displaced since 21 February in Bossangoa, in the north-west of the country, fearing an offensive by the Central African Armed Forces (FACA) and their allies. Elements of the Coalition of Patriots for Change (CPC) have taken control of the town last December, against the backdrop of contested election results. On 24 February, the armed forces announced that they had regained control of Bossangoa. But people have not yet started to return; on the contrary, they continue fleeing. According to a rapid assessment conducted by the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) on 22 February, the displaced people have settled on the grounds of the Catholic parish, where they live under extremely difficult conditions at four different sites, namely the reception center, the bishopric, the Catholic school and the presbytery. Only two water points are available at these sites and the number of latrines is not adequate for the large number of people, increasing the risk of water-borne diseases.

Humanitarian response faced with access constraints

Those affected most by the recent outbreak of violence in the country are civilians. Access constraints make it difficult for humanitarian organizations to respond adequately to people’s needs. In less than two months, nearly a dozen lootings and robberies attributed to armed groups have targeted humanitarian actors in Bossangoa, four of them in a single week. As a result, most humanitarian organizations have relocated their employees or reduced their presence, thus affecting their response capacity significantly. Despite these difficult conditions, Médecins Sans Frontières started building 25 showers, 15 latrines and a 10,000-litre water tank for the displaced people on 25 February. The organization has also started to provide medical care for children and youth at the regional hospital. At a coordination meeting on 25 February in Bossangoa, humanitarian organizations identified the need to support the CODIS health center near the bishopric site, to provide hygiene kits, organize protection monitoring at the different sites for the displaced and improve water supply.

Concerns beyond the city

While there is hope for a lull in Bossangoa town, the situation on the surrounding axes remains worrisome, especially north of Bossembélé. Several abuses of civilians by armed elements have been reported, including houses that were set on fire along the road leading from Bossembelé to Bossangoa. Similarly, forced displacement of villagers living in the surroundings of Bossangoa have been reported; their numbers remain to be assessed when access to the region becomes possible. Due to prevailing insecurity, humanitarian actors have not yet been able to reach this area, evaluate humanitarian needs and provide the necessary response.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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