Posted by News Express | 29 March 2013 | 4,165 times
GENEVA, Switzerland, March 29, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ – The crisis in the Central African Republic, including the seizure of power by the Seleka coalition on 24 March, has exacerbated an already difficult humanitarian situation. Since December 2012 an estimated 173,000 people have been displaced within the country, while more than 32,000 Central Africans have fled to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Cameroon and Chad.
The volatile security situation is hampering humanitarian efforts to provide medical care and other assistance. Many people injured during the latest fighting have been brought to hospitals around the capital Bangui, but medical facilities are finding it difficult to cope with the influx and the lack of electricity makes it extremely difficult to provide care.
Schools in Bangui have also been closed this week.
“The protection of civilians is of the utmost importance,” said the acting Humanitarian Coordinator, Dr. Zakaria Maiga. “I call on all parties to provide security for the people of Bangui and everywhere in the country, to refrain from further escalation of violence, and to respect international humanitarian and human rights law.”
“There has been widespread looting in Bangui in the past few days and first-aid responders in medical facilities urgently need to deliver medicine and provide aid to people affected by violence,” added Dr. Maiga. “We are doing everything possible to step up humanitarian operations throughout the country and need safe access to people in need.”
The humanitarian consequences of the recent crisis are particularly worrying in the north and centre of the country. More than 80,000 people are estimated to be at risk of severe food shortages during the upcoming lean season, while 13,500 children under the age of 5 are at risk of Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM). Schools are not functioning and at least 166,000 children have no access to education.
On 18 March, the United Nations and the authorities in Bangui asked donors for US$129 million to fund the 2013 humanitarian appeal for the Central African Republic. The humanitarian response plan is now being revised to take into account the additional needs generated by the latest crisis.
. . . Situation in hospitals catastrophic
GENEVA, Switzerland, March 29, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ – A few days after the heavy fighting that rocked Bangui, the capital of the Central African Republic, the security situation in the city remains very unsettled and the plight of casualties extremely worrying.
“The corridors in the Community Hospital of Bangui are overflowing with injured people. The doctors and nurses can no longer cope with emergencies,” said Dr Bonaventure Bazirutwabo of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) after visiting the hospital. “The situation is catastrophic. The wounded are taking up every available space in the hospital, and the sick cannot be treated.”
Nearly 200 people wounded in clashes have been admitted to the city’s main hospitals, including around 40 who are still awaiting emergency surgery. The hospitals, like the entire city, are currently without running water and a continuous supply of electric power; soon they will also be without fuel. Because they do not have adequate stocks of medicines, the main hospitals in Bangui can no longer admit new patients. The ICRC has delivered 150 litres of fuel to the Community Hospital, the city’s main medical centre, for its generator.
“It remains difficult for us to move about safely within the city,” said Georgios Georgantas, head of the ICRC delegation in Bangui. “Looting is unfortunately still going on. We are determined to bring aid without delay to everyone who needs it, including the injured and medical personnel. We are doing everything we can to achieve this aim despite the current situation.”
Central African Red Cross Society volunteers have assisted nearly 400 people by providing them with first aid or, in the most serious cases, by taking them to medical facilities. Today they are helping to manage mortal remains at the mortuary and in the city’s neighbourhoods, and to bury them. The ICRC is supporting their efforts by providing them with first-aid supplies, fuel and disinfectant.
•Photo courtesy www.guardian.co.uk
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