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

Video Analysts: Beijing Parade a 'Bazaar' of Stolen Technology

Show commemorating victory over Japan in World War II involved long, medium and short range missiles, a range of tanks and 200 fighter aircraft More

Bernie Sanders Surge Reflects US Shift on Socialism

Although most analysts say it is unlikely he will get the Democratic nomination, Sanders' campaign opens up questions and issues that are otherwise marginalized More

Video On IS Frontline, Kurdish Fighters Ready for Offensive

Peshmerga soldiers say although they need more heavy artillery, they are poised to take the fight to the Islamic State extremists on their turf 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.
Drowned Migrant Toddler Photo Triggers European Outragei
X
Henry Ridgwell
September 04, 2015 11:36 AM
The harrowing picture of a drowned three-year-old Syrian boy washed up on a Turkish beach appears to have galvanized Europe’s leaders into doing more to address the refugee crisis. France, Germany and Italy issued a joint call Thursday for compulsory quotas of refugees for all EU states. But there were chaotic scenes in Hungary as police tried to force migrants off a train heading for Austria. Henry Ridgwell has more. And a caution, some of the images in this report may be disturbing.
Video

Video Drowned Migrant Toddler Photo Triggers European Outrage

The harrowing picture of a drowned three-year-old Syrian boy washed up on a Turkish beach appears to have galvanized Europe’s leaders into doing more to address the refugee crisis. France, Germany and Italy issued a joint call Thursday for compulsory quotas of refugees for all EU states. But there were chaotic scenes in Hungary as police tried to force migrants off a train heading for Austria. Henry Ridgwell has more. And a caution, some of the images in this report may be disturbing.
Video

Video Russians Observe 11th Anniversary of Beslan School Attack

This week, Russians have been observing the 11th anniversary of the attack by Islamic militants on a school in Russia's North Caucasus region that killed more than 330 hostages, including 186 children. The three-day siege and massacre that started on September 1, 2004 took place in Beslan, a town in the republic of North Ossetia, and is one of the bloodiest terrorist acts ever in Russia. VOA's Mike Richman reports.
Video

Video Native Americans Debate: Father Serra, Saint or Sinner?

Pope Francis will canonize an 18th century missionary to Spanish California during a papal visit to the United States this month.  But some Native Americans have criticized the elevation to sainthood of the missionary priest, Junipero Serra. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Calais School Offers Another Face of Europe’s Migrant Crisis

Europe is facing mounting criticism over how it’s handling its biggest migration crisis since World War II. But not all Europeans believe building walls or passing repressive policies are the answer. A school for migrants in the French port city of Calais, is opening doors and building bonds across nationalities. VOA's Lisa Bryant reports.
Video

Video Kurdish Fighters on IS Frontline Ready for Offensive

Finger on the trigger, the Kurdish Peshmerga soldier stared across the dust at a village taken over by Islamic State extremists. The Kurdistan’s Khazir frontline, just 45 minutes from the Islamic State stronghold of Mosul. And at this point, the militants were less than two kilometers away. VOA's Sharon Behn reports.
Video

Video China Announces Troop Cuts at WWII Parade

Chinese President Xi Jinping Thursday announced plans to cut the world’s largest military force by 300,000 troops. The announcement was made during a massive military parade to commemorate victory over Japan in World War II. The event was shunned by most Western leaders and for some is raising fresh concerns about China’s military ambitions. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video Russia-Japan Relations Cool as Putin Visits China for WWII Anniversary

Russian President Vladimir Putin is in Beijing for commemorations of the 70th anniversary of China's WWII victory over Japan. Putin is expected to visit Japan later this year, but tensions between Tokyo and Moscow over islands disputed since the war, and sanctions over Ukraine, could pour cold water on the plan. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Yemen ‘on Brink of Disaster’ as Medical Shortages Soar

Aid agencies warn Yemen is on the brink of humanitarian disaster – with up to half a million children facing severe malnutrition, and hospitals running out of basic medicines. There are fears Yemen's civil war could escalate as the coalition led by Saudi Arabia tries to drive back Houthi rebels, who seized control of much of the country earlier this year. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Apps Helping Kenyan Businesses Stay Ahead of Counterfeiters

Counterfeit goods in Kenya cost the government as much as $1 billion each year in lost tax revenues. The fake goods also hurt entrepreneurs who find it hard to carve out a niche in the market and retain customers. But as Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi, information technology is being used to try to beat the problem.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.

VOA Blogs