Crisis in Bangassou, May 2017
Central African Republic

Update on violence in the east of CAR and MSF response

While the situation calmed down in Bangassou on 15 May, rivalries between self-defence forces and Ex-Seleka coalition dissidents led to an outbreak of violence in Bria, a town where MSF runs a paediatric programme.

The Ministry of Health, International Medical Corps and MSF teams present in the town launched a contingency plan and, between 15 and 18 May, a total of 44 casualties received treatment in Bria hospital. An MSF surgical team arrived yesterday to assist with treating the wounded in the operating theatre.

Seeking protection from the fighting, thousands of the town’s inhabitants have fled. Families have assembled in the hospital compound in the hope that the belligerents will respect its neutrality and protected status. Fifteen thousand people have taken refuge in displaced people’s camp PK3, now so full it can no longer cope. With malaria at its peak during the rainy season, new arrivals find themselves exposed to extremely precarious living conditions, poor hygiene and inadequate access to water. MSF’s teams have increased mobile clinics in the camp so that those who have fled can get medical care.

Meanwhile, the vaccination programme planned for this week has been disrupted. This means that 6,000 children under five years of age in the area continue to be deprived of a major preventive health measure.

Added to the fighting are attacks on places of worship, businesses and local government buildings associated with one of the warring parties. These are stirring up ethnic and religious divides in Bria. Those actions are fuelling the cycle of reprisals and attacks against civilians that broke out in the east of the country months ago.

In Bangassou, the situation has calmed down yet remains volatile. About 7,000 people are still displaced in the church compound. MSF has restarted routine activities at the hospital to meet the needs of a large caseload of patients, many of them in severe medical condition, notably due to malaria. MSF teams run mobile clinics to bring medical care to people displaced by the violence. About 250 patients received treatment during mobile clinics; another 250 were treated at the hospital between 16 and 18 May.

Last week, clashes in Alindao caused people to be displaced towards Bambari. The MSF team at Bambari hospital treated six wounded displaced people. Another team is on its way to evaluate the situation for people displaced in and around Alindao, as well as in Mobaye.

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