News / Africa

Rescue Flights From Bangui May Be Put On Hold

A crowd runs for cover as African Union (AU) peacekeeping soldiers fire warning shots to disperse a crowd near the district of Miskine in Bangui, Feb. 7, 2014.
A crowd runs for cover as African Union (AU) peacekeeping soldiers fire warning shots to disperse a crowd near the district of Miskine in Bangui, Feb. 7, 2014.
Nick Long
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) says it may have to discontinue rescue flights for people at risk of violence in the Central African Republic unless more funding arrives quickly.  
 
The IOM is the main international organization helping to evacuate non - C.A.R. citizens from Bangui. Since early January it has chartered 20 flights from the capital, enabling nearly 5,000 third-country nationals to leave.

Most of these people were Muslims, from Chad, Cameroon, Mali, Niger, Sudan and Senegal.  Since last year, when the largely Muslim rebel group Seleka seized power in Bangui, sectarian violence has killed thousands and forced hundreds of thousands to flee their homes.

Muslims are the minority in the C.A.R.  They have been increasingly vulnerable, and as many Chadians and Sudanese were believed involved in the Seleka, third-country nationals are particularly at risk.

The IOM has appealed for $17.5 million for the C.A.R. but has only received $2.5 million.

IOM Director-General William Swing used to be United States ambassador to the C.A.R., and says he barely recognized Bangui when he flew back here three days ago. The city's physical and social fabric has deteriorated badly.

Swing says more than half the money his organization has spent on the C.A.R., between $5-$6 million,  has come from its own emergency fund.

"Now that money has been drawn down to the last couple of million and we’re guarding that money fairly prudently now to see if more comes in from donors. A lot now depends on more funding coming. In fact we will probably have to slow down or even cease for a couple of days early next week," said Swing.

IOM has identified a further 10,000 third-country nationals in Bangui who want to be evacuated, and more are arriving from the interior of the country. The cost of evacuation is about $1,000 per person, and IOM is also funding secure waiting sites for people at risk.

Swing says donor funding for evacuations from this crisis has been nothing like the response to previous needs.

"In March 2011 when the Libyan crisis broke, working with our traditional partner UNHCR, together we were able to evacuate 229,000 migrant workers from 54 countries. We did that for about $125 million but we got a lot of in-kind support from the UK, France and the US, in planes and pilots," he said.

Swing praised the international peacekeeping forces in Bangui for their success in stabilizing the city. The UN reports much less violence in Bangui in the past week than in previous weeks as African Union forces have deployed more widely.

Massacres and ethnic cleansing have continued in the interior of the country, however.

Many of those most at risk are Central African citizens; IOM does not have a mandate to evacuate them but is trying to assist them.

An IOM researcher in Bangui, Francois Goemans, told VOA the organization is trying to discover where Muslim ethnic Peul communities are trying to take refuge.

The Peul with their large herds of cattle have been coming under attack. As most of the Peul in the C.A.R. are Central African, evacuation, even if were possible, is not the ideal solution.

You May Like

Mood Tense Ahead of Scotland Independence Vote

As race to persuade undecided voters continues, No voters say they believe life in Scotland will slowly improve and do not want to take a risk by endorsing independence More

South Africa’s 'Open Mosque' Admits Everyone, Including Critics

Open Mosque founder plans to welcome gay worshipers and allow women to lead prayers More

Ukrainian Activist in Despair About Future of Her Country

IrIna Dovgan, accused of being a spy and tortured by pro-Russian separatists, is appealing to UN Human Rights Council to support her country More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Spacei
X
September 17, 2014 4:20 AM
The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid