The president of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Peter Mauer on Wednesday called on the International community to renew efforts to deal with the humanitarian crisis in the Central African Republic, which has been plagued by conflict since 2013.
Mauer is currently visiting the conflict ravaged country, where one in five Central Africans is currently displaced, and around 2.2 million people, around half the population, need humanitarian assistance.
Violence has escalated in CAR since former colonial power France ended its peacekeeping mission last year, despite the election in March 2016 of President Faustin-Archange Touadera, which raised hopes of reconciliation.
This visit comes at a time and in a country where more than 30 percent of the population is displaced. More than half of the population needs humanitarian assistance.
Mauer called CAR’s situation “one of the most neglected humanitarian tragedies in our world”, saying it remains largely underfunded.
“This visit comes at a time and in a country where more than 30 percent of the population is displaced. More than half of the population needs humanitarian assistance. It’s also a country that does not appear in the news everyday or regularly on the international political or diplomatic agenda,” he said.
Fighting in the country has flared since May last year, with the north-west and south-east of the country being the worst hit.
Many continue to flee their villages, and tell stories of homes being torched, extortion and indiscriminate attacks.
This hospital in the capital Bangui is one of the few hospitals still operating.
“I was in Aliandao when the crisis started. I had to flee to my aunt’s place. When I came back to Alindao, I met a group of armed men who took me to the chief from a neighbouring village. They beat me up with a machete. They also beat my second son,” said one displaced woman Cecile.
“Since 2017, we have taken 640 patients and performed 1,234 surgeries, which is around 100 surgeries a month,” said Chief surgeon, Abdramane Samake.
“I want to bring the international community’s attention to what’s happening here and I want them to pay increased attention to those who are suffering and have been impacted by violence and address their needs, not only material needs but psychological as well,” Mauer said.
Violence has also forced aid workers to pull out of the country, leaving many vulnerable people without assistance.
According to the U.N.‘s Financial Tracking Service (FTS), lack of funds in 2017 had already forced aid workers to halve food aid and in some places stop it completely.
The United Nations announced on Monday (January 15) that 100,000 people who have taken refuge to the city as a result of fighting need urgent humanitarian assistance.