Bouar, a town in the west of the Central African Republic (CAR) is in need of urgent humanitarian assistance, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), also known as Doctors Without Borders said Tuesday describing the situation as ‘deplorable’.
This followed faced major violent attacks in the region since December, where a coalition of armed groups and government supported by international allies, clashed.
Bouar, which is 150 kilometres away from the Cameroonian border, has thousands of people in critical conditions, forcing many to flee their homes.
On Jan. 9, armed groups formed a new rebel coalition, Coalition des Patriotes pour le Changement (CPC) and carried out attacks against the Central African Armed Forces (FACA) and the United Nations Peacekeeping Mission (MINUSCA) in Bouar. This was followed by another violent attack on Jan. 17.
Humanitarian workers have also not been spared, as rebels wreak havoc on infrastructure and also looted properties, forcing many to suspend or drastically reduce activities despite the growing need of aid by the displaced persons.
According to MSF, Rolande, a nursing mother, who is among those who fled Bouar with her sick one-month-old baby said she has been left with limited options after rebels attacked and forced her to flee.
“I don’t know where to go because the rebels have set up their base in my neighbourhood. It’s very difficult to live here with my baby who is just one month old. We sleep outside in the cold without a mosquito net,” Rolande said.
“My child is sick, but I can’t take him to the hospital because of the insecurity and I don’t have money to pay for the treatment,” she added.
Since the attacks, more than 8,000 people have been left with no choice but to leave their homes.
According to MSF, close to half of them are currently living in a former cathedral in the city, which is the largest of the six makeshift camps for those who have been displaced.
The MSF has already started an emergency intervention, further calling for an urgent humanitarian response.
So far, the organization has engaged in setting up water points, showers, latrines and installing mobile clinics so that the displaced persons can access health care.
“Since the start of its intervention, in addition to the 20,000 litres of water provided per day, our teams have carried out 672 consultations in all IDPs sites and referred seven people requiring further medical care to the hospital,” said in a statement on Tuesday.
“We have distributed basic necessities kits (non-food items) to 250 families. MSF is also providing ongoing support to local medical structures, particularly in the operating block of Bouar hospital, where we treated, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, a total of nine war-wounded following the violent fighting on January 9 and 17, 2021.”
Tristan Le Lonquer, the MSF’s Head of Mission in CAR described the living conditions as “deplorable”.
“It is total destitution. The living conditions in the sites hosting internally displaced persons (IDPs) are deplorable, particularly due to the lack of sufficient access to water.
“The water network is no longer functional and the few wells accessible in the town are not enough to meet the needs of all the IDPs, so there is a real water shortage,” he added.