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

    Hope Remains for Rio Olympic Games, Despite Woes

    Facing a host of problems, Rio prepares for holding the games but experts say some risks, like Zika, may not be as grave as initially thought

    IS Use of Social Media to Recruit, Radicalize Still a Top Threat to US

    Despite military gains against IS in Iraq and Syria, their internet propaganda still commands an audience; US officials see 'the most complex challenge that the federal government and industry face'

    ‘Time Is Now’ to Save Africa’s Animals From Poachers, Activist Says

    During Zimbabwe visit, African Wildlife Foundation President Kaddu Sebunya says poaching hurts Africa as slave trade once did

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolatei
    X
    July 29, 2016 4:02 PM
    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolate

    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Tesla Opens Battery-Producing Gigafactory

    Two years after starting to produce electric cars, U.S. car maker Tesla Motors has opened the first part of its huge battery manufacturing plant, which will eventually cover more than a square kilometer. Situated close to Reno, Nevada, the so-called Gigafactory will eventually produce more lithium-ion batteries than were made worldwide in 2013. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Polio-affected Afghan Student Fulfilling Her Dreams in America

    Afghanistan is one of only two countries in the world where children still get infected by polio. The other is Pakistan. Mahbooba Akhtarzada who is from Afghanistan, was disabled by polio, but has managed to overcome the obstacles caused by this crippling disease. VOA's Zheela Nasari caught up with Akhtarzada and brings us this report narrated by Bronwyn Benito.
    Video

    Video Hillary Clinton Promises to Build a 'Better Tomorrow'

    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton urged voters Thursday not to give in to the politics of fear. She vowed to unite the country and move it forward if elected in November. Clinton formally accepted the Democratic Party's nomination at its national convention in Philadelphia. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more.
    Video

    Video Trump Tones Down Praise for Russia

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is toning down his compliments for Russia and Vladimir Putin as such rhetoric got him in trouble recently. After calling on Russia to find 30.000 missing emails from rival Hillary Clinton, Trump told reporters he doesn't know Putin and never called him a great leader, just one who's better than President Barack Obama. Putin has welcomed Trump's overtures, but, as Zlatica Hoke reports, ordinary Russians say they are not putting much faith in Trump.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora