Over half a million people have been displaced towards camps by the ongoing civil war in the Central African Republic.
The deplorable living conditions in the camps has enticed several people to return to their homes, as is the case for Jean Bako.
"We have been here for five years. Many have lost their homes, their families, and some of the valuable assets. We stayed but it is because of the deplorable living conditions that we want to return to our homes. This is why some are still on the site and others have left voluntarily," explains Jean Bako, a shoemaker internally displaced by the cycle of violence.
The PK3 camp in Bria, in the east houses the largest population of internally displaced persons according to the Central African Commission for Population Movements.
The camp is plagued by numerous shortages that adversely affect living conditions.
"Here in the camp, we really have drinking water problems. Having water is not easy. We also have health problems related to lack of toilets. Having to eat is also difficult these days in the camp because there is inflation of food products on the market, especially cassava flour. So living here isn’t easy," deplores Florentin Ngouyola, PK3 camp inhabitant.
As a result, humanitarian actors such as the UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) have mobilized resources in order to support those whom wish to leave.
"The PK3 site is the largest site of displaced persons in the CAR and these people have expressed the desire to return to their original neighborhoods with the improvement of the security situation. And this appeal was heard by humanitarian actors, including UNHCR, which mobilized resources with the Humanitarian Fund to support 3,000 households in the various neighborhoods of Bria this year," announces Laëtitia Kakou-Silué, Head of the UNHCR office in Bria.
The conflict in the CAR, which was extremely deadly for civilians, peaked in 2018 before decreasing in intensity. Bria, the diamond capital located 600 km northeast of Bangui, was one of the epicenter of tensions between armed groups.
Since the beginning of the civil war in 2012, thousands of people have been killed and many have fled to neighboring Cameroon and the Democratic Republic of Congo.