All sides in Central African Republic should stop targeting civilians and allow vital aid to get to those in need, said Oxfam today, following the recent attack on a camp for internally displaced people in the town of Batangafo in the north of the country. Violent clashes between armed groups have been taking place since Wednesday 31 October in Batangafo following an attack on a man while visiting a camp for internally displaced people (IDPs).
An estimated 28,000 people are affected by the surge in violence. More than 10,000 people have fled their homes to the compound of the MSF-supported hospital, while several thousand others have fled to the bush. The IDP site and many surrounding houses and buildings have been burned. Twenty people have been treated for injuries at the city hospital, including 10 people who required emergency surgery – two of whom died due to complications.
Ferran Puig, Oxfam’s Country Director in Central African Republic, said: "The protection of civilians must be a top priority for all parties. For more than four years, they have suffered the consequences of ongoing conflict and are at breaking point. I appeal to all those involved in the conflict to allow humanitarian organizations to deliver the assistance that these people need."
Oxfam's humanitarian response
Oxfam’s team in Batangafo has been forced to limit its movements as a result of the violence which is hampering their work. However, since Tuesday the team has been able to provide essential services such water in collaboration with Danish Refugee Council. Oxfam estimates that the crisis has prevented it from providing more than 32,000 people with humanitarian assistance.
Oxfam is now preparing to deliver other humanitarian aid to those impacted by the violence including nearly 3,000 hygiene kits and a similar number of kitchen kits to assist people who have lost all their belongings, as well as garbage bins to people displaced to the hospital site.
A rapid assessment is also underway to identify needs for a more focused humanitarian response.
Puig added: “Oxfam joins other humanitarian agencies in asking the UN peacekeeping mission, MINUSCA, to to stop the violence and assist victims of this crisis.”