No Hospitals to Help Victims of Violence In Central African Republic

Our teams race to help vulnerable communities after recurring violence in the Central African Republic.
Our teams assess and respond to needs of families in the CAR. Photo: ACF-CAR, B. Cichon
Our teams assess and respond to needs of families in the CAR. Photo: ACF-CAR, B. Cichon

Last weekend, violent clashes once again shook the Central African Republic. In the capital, Bangui, and in the region of Bossangoa, the population waits for stability and emergency aid. Bossangoa is now a ghost town: half of its inhabitants have fled, fearing for their safety, and are living in unsafe makeshift camps. The area has been completely looted, including the therapeutic nutrition center where Action Against Hunger teams had been treating severely malnourished children. Even in the face of such precarious conditions, our teams are racing to evaluate the situation and resume relief efforts as quickly as possible.

Hospitals Looted and Shut Down

In Bossangoa, the health system is in a catastrophic state. The public hospital was closed after being looted, and only two private clinics can still support patients. But the clinics’ supply of medicine and other essential items are alarmingly low, so they are struggling to support the volume of patients suffering from injuries, waterborne diseases, and psychological trauma.

The therapeutic nutrition center where we were treating 35 children for severe acute malnutrition has been looted of medicine, mosquito nets, a generator for its water source, and other essential items. The children we were treating fled with their families, but their health and safety remain critical, especially as the lean season approaches. Usually during the lean season, we see a spike in cases of malnutrition and treat up to 100 children, but it is uncertain how many we will be able to help in the wake of recent events.

Food Reserves Plummet as Prices Rise

With the onset of the lean season just weeks away, this already critical situation could worsen dramatically. Food reserves are running low, and area markets provide a limited selection at much higher prices, so many families cannot afford to buy food. Growing food is also becoming a less viable option, as many people have had to sell or consume the seeds they usually reserve for planting in order to get by. These conditions combined put more and more people in the Central African Republic at risk for malnutrition, so it is crucial that we are able to resume relief efforts efficiently and effectively.  

“We won’t rest until we are certain that those affected by this crisis have their basic human needs met, and we hope to give them a positive outlook for a better future.”
– Clement Cazaubon, Country Director, Action Against Hunger, Central African Republic

While the country slowly becomes more secure, we are working to restore and protect people’s access to health facilities and food provisions. Our goal is not only to provide immediate relief from the current crisis, but to also to help secure a healthier, safer future for the people of the Central African Republic. 

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Imagine that your hospital closed during a medical emergency. How would you feel? How would you react?