Interview with our head of delegation in Bangui

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Following the events of recent days, Georgios Georgantas, the head of the ICRC delegation in the Central African Republic, reviews the humanitarian situation in the country.

Can you describe the humanitarian situation in Bangui today?

The humanitarian situation in Bangui remains worrying. There is still little or no electricity in the city and the water supply is uncertain. This is having an effect on medical facilities and other infrastructure.

Like other humanitarian organizations, the ICRC is today proceeding with a first assessment of health-care facilities in Bangui. There is still however a lack of security in the city that continues to restrict the movement of our personnel. It is crucial that we recover our ability to work and move about in the shortest possible time. The ICRC currently has around 130 staff on the spot.

The buildings used to store food or supplies, and many ICRC residences, have been completely or partially looted. This puts at risk some of the emergency activities the ICRC carries out for people suffering the effects of the violence. The looting and ransacking of medical and humanitarian facilities must cease.

What assistance are people affected by the violence of the past few days receiving?

For the time being, it is mainly that of volunteers of the Central African Red Cross Society, who have been doing their utmost to evacuate casualties and recover mortal remains in the capital. Our staff are currently carrying out a first assessment of medical facilities. Our activities for people suffering the effects of violence in other parts of the country, such as Kaga Bandoro and Ndélé, are continuing for now, despite the security situation remaining very unstable.

What is the main message that you have for the parties concerned?

It is essential that any wounded, arrested or detained person be treated humanely and with dignity. The looting and ransacking of medical and humanitarian facilities must cease, so that aid can be brought unimpeded to people hard hit by the violence of recent days.

For further information, please contact:
Vincent Pouget, ICRC Bangui, tel: +237 94 202 493 or +236 75 64 30 07
Marie-Servane Desjonquères, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 79 536 92 58