News / Africa

Violence Leaves CAR Residents in Perpetual Fear

African Union intervention force (MISCA) secures the area during an operation to free the way leading to the north of Bangui on March 25, 2014.
African Union intervention force (MISCA) secures the area during an operation to free the way leading to the north of Bangui on March 25, 2014.
Lisa Schlein
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) warns the humanitarian crisis in the Central African Republic will get worse without major efforts to restore security in this lawless country.  A senior ICRC official says the lack of security keeps the population in a state of perpetual fear. 

According to the ICRC, the people of Central African Republic are held hostage to pillaging, killings and sexual violence meted out by the warring factions.  

Patrick L'Hote, the ICRC head of operations for Central and Southern Africa, who just returned from a four-day visit to the country, told VOA people live in a state of constant danger. Survival is their only mode of existence.  

“What is going on now between the communities is very difficult and puts the people in a very difficult situation.  They fear for their life," he explained.  "They are put under a lot of pressure during the day, but also during the night.  And, this takes place in a country, which was already before the events in a state of extreme poverty.” 

L’Hote said this pervasive fear affects every aspect of society and hampers the ability to provide humanitarian aid.  He said local health workers are under enormous pressure during the day while treating the sick and wounded. 

“But, they also experience a difficult situation in their private life during the night when they are with their family - fearing for their life, for their belongings and sometimes forced to flee their home on a very short notice,”  he noted.

The Red Cross was present in the country before this current war broke out at the end of 2012.  That made it easy for the agency to move smoothly from a traditional to an emergency operation as the crisis grew.

The agency’s main focus is on the health sector.  It has three surgical teams working around the clock at the Community Hospital in the capital, Bangui.  It says around 70 percent of those receiving emergency care are victims of shootings or stabbings.

The ICRC also provides medical care in other parts of the country, such as the town of Kaga Bandoro and in Ndele in the north.  

But, operations head L’Hote says the Red Cross's traditional role as neutral mediator between warring parties is difficult to perform in the C.A.R.

“You do not have two well defined groups fighting against each other.  You have a combination of different factions, groups," L'Hote said. "Criminality also is rising up in the present days, so it has a real effect on the deterioration of the situation.” 

L’Hote said impunity in the country is widespread.  He said people feel they can do whatever they want and will not have to pay a price for their actions.

You May Like

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

There is growing uncertainty over whether West’s response to ISIS is adequate More

China Crackdown on Dual Citizens Causes Concern

New policy encourages reporting people who obtain citizenship in another country, but retain Chinese citizenship; move spurs sharp debate More

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

Losing ground to Islamic State fighters, Syria's government says it is ready to cooperate with international community 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.
Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?i
X
Henry Ridgwell
August 29, 2014 12:26 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Pachyderms Play Polo to Raise Money for Elephants

Polo, the ancient team competition typically played on horseback, is known as the “sport of kings.” However, the royal version for one annual event in Thailand swaps the horse for the kingdom’s national symbol - the elephant. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Samut Prakan reports that the King’s Cup Elephant Polo tournament is all for a good cause.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video America's Most Popular Artworks Displayed in Public Places

Public places in cities across America were turned into open-air art galleries in August. Pictures of the nation’s most popular artworks were displayed on billboards, bus shelters, subway platforms and more. The idea behind “Art Everywhere,” a collaborative campaign by five major museums is to allow more people to enjoy art and learn about the country’s culture and history. Faiza Elmasry has more.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. Shaikh Azizur Rahman reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid