The Central African Republic is one of the most dangerous contexts in the world for humanitarian workers: 40 humanitarian workers have been injured by criminals or armed groups in the past 11 months, compared to 23 in the same period in 2018.
Thanks to the helicopter made available from November 20th to January 15th by UNHAS/WFP, UNICEF was able to participate in several OCHA led assessments and rapid response missions in very remote areas in the South-East, including Djemah and Mingala.
As part of the response to the floods, the UNICEF-led Working Group on Accountability to Affected Populations (AAP) has developed advocacy and prevention messages for the population. In parallel, decontamination and cleaning activities of houses and water points in the 7th district of Bangui have started.
Funding Overview and Partnerships
In November, generous funding was received from the the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) to support the Rapid Response Mechanism, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to support WASH assistance to flood-affected persons, from the USAID’s Office of Food For Peace (FFP) to support the treatment of children suffering from Severe Acute Malnutrition Central African Republic Humanitarian and, from the Central African Humanitarian Fund (CAR HF) to support WASH and Nutrition assistance in the most crisis-affected areas. UNICEF wishes to express its deep gratitude to donors for the contributions and pledges received to assist vulnerable children and families in the country’s most troubled areas. With the resurgence of conflicts leading to displaced children and families, continued donor support is critical. Child protection, health and WASH needs are increasing while significant funding gaps are still hampering effective response.
Situation Overview & Humanitarian Needs
A resurgence of direct confrontations between armed groups, but also between the Central African Armed Forces and armed groups, was observed in November, particularly in Bria, Bambari and Kaga Bandoro. This, combined with continued insecurity in several cities and areas of the country, led to suspensions of movements of humanitarian actors, impacting the humanitarian response. The Central African Republic is one of the most dangerous contexts in the world for humanitarian workers. 272 incidents directly affecting humanitarian personnel or goods were recorded between January and November 2019. Their consequences are serious and are depriving entire populations of assistance: four organizations temporarily suspended their humanitarian activities in October and November and 40 humanitarian workers have been injured in the past 11 months, compared to 23 in the same period in 2018.
On Saturday, November 30, a mission composed by UNICEF and OCHA flew to Mingala with the UNHAS helicopter to deliver nearly two tons of humanitarian aid, mainly WASH items, but also dignity kits for women and educational kits for children. This aid is intended for host families and displaced persons who arrived after the recent spiral of violence that began in September 2019 following clashes in the mining areas of North Kollo.
From 23 to 26 November, UNICEF, through its partners Vision to Change the World (VCW) and Vision and Development (VD), also participated in a joint mission to Djemah, a very remote area. Thanks to the UNHAS helicopter, the team was drop-off on the spot and conducted a rapid needs assessment. Medicines and aquatab tablets were distributed, and VCW has installed water pumps in the village.
With the beginning of the dry season, water levels dropped and some flood victims in Bangui and Bimbo began to return home. In response to poor sanitation conditions in areas of return, the UNICEF-led Accountability to Affected Populations (AAP) working group has developed awareness messages. UNICEF supported communities in the 7th district to decontaminate and clean up houses and water points. UNICEF's WASH partner, IDC, carried out similar activities in Damara sub-prefecture in Ombella M'poko, while sensitizing residents to hygiene rules.
At the same time, thanks to the helicopter provided to the humanitarian community by UNHAS, humanitarian workers could fly over the Oubangui River to gain a better understanding of the extent of the impact of flooding in hard-to-reach areas. The extent of the damage was lower than initially expected, particularly in terms of the number of flooded houses.
At the end of November, some 98,000 people were affected by the recent floods, including more than 33,000 in Bangui.