April 1, 2013 – Los Angeles, Calif. – Violence in the Central African Republic (CAR) continues following the advance of the Seleka coalition on the capital city of Bangui on March 24. Having operated in CAR since 2007, International Medical Corps, in coordination with the United Nations (UN) and other non-governmental organizations, is conducting a multi-sectoral assessment to determine the extent of humanitarian needs.
The overall situation in Bangui has improved with increased water supply and some supply of electricity throughout the city. Security concerns are now in the southeast and northwest regions of the country, where looting of towns has been reported.
Following a meeting today with the Ministry of Health, International Medical Corps has requested a list of priority facilities to be assisted. The organization visited five facilities around Bangui between Friday and Monday, finding two of them heavily looted. In general, the facilities were found to be widely damaged with missing equipment, non-functioning electricity, and poor water, sanitation and hygiene conditions.
International Medical Corps secured 9 basic health kits, 22 malaria kits and 1 caesarian kit from WHO. Each basic health kit can serve 1,000 people for 3 months. The kits will be distributed to health facilities that are lacking basic essential drugs in areas where internally displaced people were reported. So far, International Medical Corps has provided 2 basic health kits and 4 malaria kits, serving 20,000 people.
Poor road infrastructure in and around Bangui and rebel blockades have further impeded the delivery of essential supplies to already difficult-to-reach areas outside the capital. International Medical Corps is greatly concerned that the risk of food insecurity will increase as the country is further destabilized and supplies run low. International Medical Corps teams are continuing basic health and nutrition service delivery in Bambari, Triningulu, Sekekede, Bria and Birao. The organization is coordinating with the UN to secure transportation of supplies so that the provision of basic services can continue in these areas.
International Medical Corps’ global security team is monitoring the situation closely and ensuring the utmost safety of staff. With significant humanitarian needs already in the country and the likelihood of civilians experiencing greater hardship as a result of the fighting, International Medical Corps hopes for a swift cessation of violence so that critically needed relief to vulnerable populations can be delivered.
International Medical Corps began working in CAR primarily in the insecure northern and eastern provinces. Today, the organization’s services include maternal and child health care, child protection, nutrition services, HIV/AIDS prevention, health education, gender-based violence prevention and response, and hygiene promotion activities.
Since its inception nearly 30 years ago, International Medical Corps’ mission has been consistent: relieve the suffering of those impacted by war, natural disaster, and disease, by delivering vital health care services that focus on training. This approach of helping people help themselves is critical to returning devastated populations to self-reliance.