B-ROLL & PHOTOGRAPHS: Serious consequences of war for civilians in CAR

Friday, August 18, 2017 — The Central African Republic (CAR) is back at war after the violence started to drastically increase last September into recent weeks. So far more than 180,000 people have fled their homes, while over 400,000 have been displaced and nearly 500,000 remain refugees in neighbouring countries, out of a total estimated population of just over 4.5 million people.

Today we share with you a B-ROLL and POWERFUL HIGH RES PHOTOGRAPHS shot in Bangassou showing the severe consequences of the war in CAR on civilians who cannot seek medical services due to constrained movements. In this polarised context, Doctors Without Borders (MSF) is also finding it extremely difficult to provide impartial medical care.

Most of the country is now engulfed in war, with armed groups in over two-thirds of the country. While the local reality in Bangassou responds to specific, local dynamics (for example the targeting of Muslim people, whereas in other areas it’s the Christian people who are targeted), the situation in Bangassou illustrates the overall suffering of civilians in CAR and the challenges of bringing much needed humanitarian relief to them.

Bangassou had only been marginally affected by the devastating conflict of 2013-2014 and was applauded for the reconciliation work and social cohesion which followed. However, on May 13th the on the town’s Muslim neighbourhood, there was a major attack by so called “auto-defence” groups and the situation drastically changed and the situation remains very volatile. Bangassou has become a ghost town controlled by loosely organised armed men. Most of the population has fled to Ndu, a trading post on the Congolese side of the river which now hosts over 16,000 people in addition to its 1,000 residents. 

About 2,000 Muslims have sought refuge in the “Petit Séminaire St Louis” that belongs to the Catholic Church and have been living there since May with little support from international actors. Recurrent fighting in town forced most actors to leave Bangassou and today only MSF and the Catholic Church are present to provide services. Most Muslims do not feel secure enough to leave the site, nor risk going to town for fear of being killed by “auto-defense” groups. 

As a consequence of the violence and the massive displacement of population, the 115 bed hospital in Bangassou is only functioning at 60% of its capacity. In opposition peripheral health centre supported by MSF, as well as mobile clinics, provides twice or three times more consultations than before. 

FOR MORE INFORMATION

Angela

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Doctors Without Borders/MSF is an independent international medical humanitarian organisation working to bring emergency medical care to people caught in conflict, crises and disasters in more than 65 countries around the world including South Africa. We rely on the regular generous donations from individual donors to support our work.

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Around 2000 Muslim people sought refuge on the Church site when the Muslim neighbourhood, Tokoyo, was attacked on May 13th 2017. They cannot leave it for fear of being killed by “auto-defense” groups in town. Water is provided by the church and food is sparse, randomly distributed by humanitarian actors. MSF organizes daily mobile clinics on the site to provide primary health care. Photographer: Natacha Buhler
Originally from Bangassou, this refugee crossed the river back to CAR in order to pick up food from her own field. Most refugees don’t have enough money to buy food on the market. She felt down and hurt her knee during the trip. Photographer: Natacha Buhler
Dieudonné R. was living in Gambo when the fighting broke out. He was attacked by fighters with machetes and was left for dead. He escaped and managed to reach Bangassou hospital, 75km away with help of local villagers. It took him two days. Photographer: Natacha Buhler
Houses destroyed in Bakouma during June fighting between ex-Seleka group from Nzako and “auto-defense” forces. Photographer: Natacha Buhler
Around 2000 Muslim people sought refuge on the Church site when the Muslim neighbourhood, Tokoyo, was attacked on May 13th 2017. They cannot leave it for fear of being killed by “auto-defense” groups in town. Water is provided by the church and food is sparse, randomly distributed by humanitarian actors. MSF organizes daily mobile clinics on the site to provide primary health care. Photographer: Natacha Buhler
IDPs are cutting down trees from the church site in order to cook and boil water. The Petit Séminaire is not adapted to host 2000 IDPs and the site is totally open to intruders, but no solution has been provided yet for the 2000 Muslims who live there since mid-May 2017. Photographer: Natacha Buhler
Destin is 15 years old. He is from Gambo. He was caught in the fighting between « auto-defence » and UPC forces and received an arrow in the chest during the weekend of August 8-9. He played dead and escaped to Bangassou, 75km away where he is currently receiving care at the hospital. He suffers from a hemothorax. Photographer: Natacha   Buhler
Muslim men reading the Quran in the Saint Louis IDP site in Bangassou. Around 2000 Muslim people sought refuge on the Church site when the Muslim neighbourhood, Tokoyo, was attacked on May 13th 2017. They cannot leave it for fear of being killed by “auto-defense” groups in town. Water is provided by the church and food is sparse, randomly distributed by humanitarian actors. MSF organizes daily mobile clinics on the site to provide primary health care. Photographer: Natacha Buhler
Bullet impact from heavy weapon on a pharmacy in Tokoyo market. The destruction occured during the fighting of mid-May 2017. Photographer: Natacha Buhler
Bangassou street through the destroyed wall of the mosque. Photographer: Natacha Buhler
MSF organizes daily mobile clinics on the site to provide primary health care to IDPs. From May to June, the team provided over 2100 consultations, half of them for malaria. Indeed, the living conditions of the IDPs impact on the prevalence of disease such as malaria, diarrhoea and respiratory infection. Also, because of the poor security situation in town, MSF encounters difficulties to refer severe cases to Bangassou hospital for more advanced treatment. Natacha Buhler
Bagassou, Petit Séminaire Saint Louis– 9.8.2017 <br/><br/>Around 2000 Muslim people sought refuge on the Church site when the Muslim neighbourhood, Tokoyo, was attacked on May 13th 2017. They cannot leave it for fear of being killed by “auto-defense” groups in town. Water is provided by the church and food is sparse, randomly distributed by humanitarian actors. MSF organizes daily mobile clinics on the site to provide primary health care. Photographer: Natacha Buhler
This child and his family walked from Nzako to Bakouma hoping for more security in the second town. They hide in the forest for almost two months without food, nor soap. All of them suffer from a severe form of mycosis. Photographer: Natacha Buhler
In order to prevent the propagation of diarrheal diseases amongst refugees caused by lack of clean water, MSF built water point in Ndu. Photographer: Natacha Buhler
MSF organizes daily mobile clinics on the site to provide primary health care to IDPs. From May to June, the team provided over 2100 consultations, half of them for malaria. Indeed, the living conditions of the IDPs impact on the prevalence of disease such as malaria, diarrhoea and respiratory infection. Also, because of the poor security situation in town, MSF encounters difficulties to refer severe cases to Bangassou hospital for more advanced treatment. Photographer: Natacha  Buhler
Door to sell for 6500 CFA. Photographer: Natacha Buhler
IDPs are cutting down trees from the church site in order to cook and boil water. The Petit Séminaire is not adapted to host 2000 IDPs and the site is totally open to intruders, but no solution has been provided yet for the 2000 Muslims who live there since mid-May 2017. Photographer: Natacha Buhler
Muslim shops that have been burned down and looted in Tokoyo market during the attack of the Muslim neighbourhood on May 13th. Photographer: Natacha Buhler
A few stalls have re-opened on the Tokoyo market that were burned down during the attack on Muslim neighbourhood of Bangassou, on May 13th 2017. Photographer: A few stalls have re-opened on the Tokoyo market that were burned down during the attack on Muslim neighbourhood of Bangassou, on May 13th 2017.