News / Africa

MSF: CAR Aid Efforts Have Failed

Muslim Children are lifted into a truck that had fallen into a ditch while turning around in Bangui, Central African Republic, Friday, Feb. 14, 2014.
Muslim Children are lifted into a truck that had fallen into a ditch while turning around in Bangui, Central African Republic, Friday, Feb. 14, 2014.

Multimedia

Audio
Joe DeCapua
A medical aid group says global efforts to protect civilians in Central African Republic have been an “utter failure.” Doctors Without Borders is calling on the international community to mobilize immediately to stop atrocities.


Civilians in CAR are regularly targeted by both sides in the conflict. Armed groups – known as anti-balaka – launched revenge attacks late last year against Seleka rebels. The rebels’ offensive in 2013 led to the ouster of President Francois Bozize and the brief presidency of Michel Djotodia, the former Seleka leader.

The Seleka are mostly Muslim, while the anti-balaka have been described as mix of Christians and those practicing traditional religion. The violence has displaced about one million people and slowed humanitarian efforts.

Doctors Without Borders – also known by the French acronym MSF – held a briefing Tuesday to describe the situation in the country.

MSF International President Dr. Joanne Liu recently returned from CAR. She said, “I’ve never seen throughout the last few years such [a] high level of violence. There is violence on a daily basis happening on civilian[s] and there is an acute lack of protection for civilians.”

She said MSF patients are in constant danger.

“The reality is, right now, if we are absent from our hospital[s], our patient[s] are in danger. This is something that is really unusual from what I’ve seen over the last few years.”

The medical group is working in 16 locations in CAR with a staff of more than 2,200.

“Over the last few months, as of December 5th, we have treated more than 3,600 wounded in our facilities,” said Liu.

She visited the town of Bozoum and found a number of injured Muslim civilians in hiding.

Liu said, “We drove into the neighborhood and found lined up in the backyard 17 people with injuries. Some of them had sustained machete injuries -- others had sustained gunshot wounds and other[s] had grenade injuries. And basically they were waiting in silence, not moaning, not saying anything -- just waiting to be rescued. And it was clear to me that if I was not doing everything I could to save their lives they would not have moved and tried to save their lives.”

She said she’s seen many similar situations -- wounded and scared people often huddling near a mosque or church.

“Right now,” she said, “a lot of them have decided to flee the country. So there’s been some organized massive exodus toward neighboring countries, either Chad or Cameroon. As of today we count close to 100,000 people who have left the country. They have to pick between living with the fear of dying tomorrow or fleeing for their [lives] and most of them have picked their [lives].”

Liu said that MSF had tried long before the current crisis to get the international community to pay more attention to Central African Republic. The country, she said, faced many serious health concerns.

The MSF International President added that peacekeeping troops are not always effective in preventing violence against civilians. The group said the international community must do more.

The U.N. has approved expanding the African Union force in CAR to 6,000. The French have 1,600 soldiers there, and the EU is expected to send about 1,000 in the coming weeks.

Liu said despite the insecurity, the ability of MSF to work in many locations shows that increasing humanitarian assistance is feasible. She says international mobilization is “needed now – not in one month, not in six months.” She says, “A massive catastrophe is unfolding in full view of international leaders.”

You May Like

Tired of Waiting, South Africans Demand Change ‘Now’

With chronic poverty and lack of basic services largely fueling recent xenophobic attacks, many in Rainbow Nation say it’s time for government to act More

Challenges Ahead for China's Development Plans in Pakistan

Planned $46 billion in energy and infrastructure investments in Pakistan are aimed at transforming the country into a regional hub for trade and investment More

Audio 'Forbidden City' Revisits Little Known Era of Asian-American Entertainment

Little-known chapter of entertainment history captured in 80s documentary is revisited in new digitally remastered format and book More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populationsi
X
April 24, 2015 10:13 PM
A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video TIME Magazine Honors Activists, Pioneers Seen as Influential

TIME Magazine has released its list of celebrities, leaders and activists, whom it deems the world’s “most influential” in 2015. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports from New York.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.

VOA Blogs