Gerald Bikombi, Central African Red Cross and Nelly Muluka, IFRC
After more than two years of armed conflict with attacks and counter-attacks, there is a ray of hope for displaced families in the Central African Republic.
According to David Angoba, a volunteer with the Central African Red Cross and President of a local Red Cross committee, the current calmness in most parts of the country is a sigh of relief.
“I have been leading Red Cross volunteers in assisting displaced people in at least seven camps in the sixth district of Bangui. I have witnessed, first hand, the immense suffering that these families have been subjected to. I am indeed extremely happy to see happy faces on displaced families, full of optimism and hope for a return to normalcy,” says David.
However, the humanitarian situation remains dire and, according to David, can only be permanently reversed through reconstruction and resilience projects for the affected families and communities who are looking forward to going back to their homes.
“These families’ journeys of living more than two years in the camps has not been easy; it is my prayer that they will soon be able to go back home and continue with their normal lives,” says David, adding that many have already left the camps but many more are still residing there, having lost everything, including shelter and their sources of income.
David is grateful to the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement partners in the country and other humanitarians for the support that they have given to displaced families in the sixth district of Bangui, where he is based, and in other parts of the country, since 2013. He is now calling upon them to continue with the good work through reconstruction projects.
“This district was not directly affected by the violence, but many people moved here seeking security and humanitarian aid. Through the concerted efforts of Movement partners and other humanitarians, we have supported them as much as possible. With the current relative calm, many have expressed a desire to go back home, but are in a dilemma as to where to go and what to go back to. Projects like the distribution of small ruminants and other income generating activities need to be initiated so that their dream of going back home can be realized,” David concludes.
Priority needs for families still in camps remain food, access to safe water, and shelter. Central African Red Cross volunteers, in collaboration with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and other partners, continue to support them with services in all sectors. The National Society is set to begin implementing several food security and livelihoods projects, with the first phase targeting some of the hardest hit areas in the western part of the country.
Then, for families, and David, hopes of returning home may finally begin to be realized.
The IFRC has launched a revised Emergency Appeal of 10 million Swiss francs to assist 150,000 people affected by the long term insecurity in the Central African Republic. The Appeal is currently 19 per cent funded.