- The Central African Republic faces since mid-March the second COVID-19 wave.
- Multisectoral emergency response reached 2,000 internally displaced people at the PK3 site in Bria, where a fire destroyed their homes.
- In Bossangoa, thousands of displaced people return home in uncertainty
- In January and February, more than 16,000 internally displaced people in Bangassou received multi-sectoral humanitarian assistance.
- 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.
Devastating fire ravages IDP site in Bria
At least 335 shelters were destroyed and 2,000 people left homeless at the PK3 site for internally displaced people (IDPs) in Bria. A disastrous fire accidentally broke out in the afternoon of 18 April.
Strong winds during the current dry season quickly spread the flames across three blocks of the densely populated site that is home to more than 50,000 people. Some of the victims found refuge with relatives, others slept under the roof of 25 communal shelters that UNHCR and INTERSOS set up with the participation of affected IDPs as a first emergency response.
Medical partners IMC and MSF are taking care of 103 injured people, most of them women, many who suffered from smoke inhalation while trying to save family members and belongings from the flames.
Not only their physical injuries receive attention but IMC’s mental health team also takes care of patients suffering from stress reactions or psychological shocks.
As soon as the fire was extinguished with the help of the UN peacekeepers, under the leadership of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), humanitarian organizations present in Bria started assessing the damage and planning the emergency response. Water tanks, toilets, school buildings and health facilities have fortunately not been affected by the flames. OXFAM continues supplying water and ensuring the functioning of sanitation facilities. To prevent the spread of Covid-19 and other diseases at the communal shelters, soaps and buckets are being distributed.
OCHA is also coordinating with MINUSCA to ensure regular patrols at the IDP site to prevent the looting that has been observed after the fire and to mitigate protection related concerns.
Sufficient stocks to address the immediate humanitarian needs are available in Bria, including from UNICEF/RRM. A rapid ACTED/RRM team is deploying to Bria with the support of the UN Humanitarian Air Service to scale up emergency response at the IDP site. Additional tarps for temporary shelter and other non-food items are currently being shipped from nearby Bambari to complement the humanitarian stocks prepositioned in Bria. UNICEF is working closely with education partners to support the education facilities on the site.
The PK3 site in Bria has been a refuge for displaced people for years. Some have fled intercommunal tensions; others active violence and clashes. Some IDPs have come from far, others from parts of town just a few kilometres away. They all share the continued burden of insecurity, of living in a region that risks being shaken at any moment, by natural hazards or human interventions.
While humanitarian partners focus on emergency response in a first step to alleviate the immediate effects of the fire, they will also start planning for better living conditions at the congested IDP site.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.