Central African Republic: MSF assists civilians fleeing the fighting following a coup d'état attempt

Barcelona, October 30th, 2002 - The international humanitarian aid organization Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has started an emergency intervention in the Central African Republic (CAR) to assist civilians fleeing the fighting in the capital, Bangui, following last Friday's Coup d'état attempt. Last Friday (October 26), rebel troops went into the CAR and launched a Coup d'état against President Felix Patassé's government. The population is fleeing Bangui, where the clashes are taking place, and is seeking refuge towards the south and the north of the city. Some people, including an MSF team, have found refuge at Hôpital de l'Amitié, one of Bangui's public hospitals, where there are 20 civilians wounded. MSF is concerned about the situation of the population and urges to all parties in conflict respect for health estructures and for medical staff. Moreover, MSF staff tried to reach the hospital to evacuate its team but access was not permitted. The organization is concerned about the security of its team blocked inside the hospital and urges free access to it. Since the beginning of the clashes, MSF has tried to assist the civilian population. At first, the teams stayed in Bangui and organised a makeshift first aid point at the MSF house. Once the population started to flee, MSF went to a location in the South of Bangui, where it will open a dispensary to provide primary health care. From there, MSF will evaluate the situation in the outskirts of Bangui to determine population's needs and to intervene if necessary. MSF has seven international volunteers in the CAR including two doctors and two nurses.