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Central African Republic: Fires and strong Winds in Bakala - Emergency Plan of Action (EPoA) DREF Operation MDRCF028

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A. Situation analysis

Description of the disaster

Two large villages located 15 km from the city of Bakala (458 km from Bangui) experienced fires in the night of 24 to 25 February 2022, which caused significant material and human damages. This area is experiencing intense drought and very high temperatures at the end of the dry season, between February and March. Moreover, this is the period during which fields go up in flames due to dryness. The fire started from these burnt fields, spreading through the fields and vegetation to the buildings around. Fire quickly spread to other nearby houses and was aggravated by the strength of the dry winds specific to the season and the savannah area. The city does not have a fire department, so the affected population tried to put out the fire with the means at hand causing additional injuries and material loss. Unfortunately, the fire continued until the night of 26 February 2022. After a few hours of calm, the fire started again on 28 February 2022, affecting other villages.

The rapid assessment made by volunteers and local authorities on 27 February after the first fires shows 191 families directly affected by fires, i.e., 955 people, including 171 men, 385 women and 399 children. In this population, 11 pregnant women, 12 nursing mothers, 36 elderly people and 17 disabled people were recorded.

After the fires from 28 February in new villages, Central African Red Cross Society (CARCS) carried out a jointly rapid assessment with the heads of villages and neighbourhoods on 1rst March which brought the total number of affected households to 503 within 6 villages with 28 partially destroyed houses and 17 injured. On 2nd of March 2022, the local Red Cross committee received a request for assistance from the local authorities.

All affected households took refuge in host families nearby the affected villages but in unaffected location set up by local authorities. For reference, Bakala is a city located in the North part of Ouaka prefecture and one of the five sub prefectures. The Central African Republique (CAR) is divided into 20 prefectures.