Over 300 displaced persons fleeing violence in the Sam-Ouandja, situated in the Haute-Kotto prefecture in the Central African Republic have arrived in the Vakaga prefecture.
The new arrivals consist mostly of women and children.
According to prefectural authorities, the over 300 displaced persons are from 49 households in Sam-Ouandja, situated 200 kilometres to the south of Birao.
“Armed individuals came and attacked Sam-Ouandja and were shooting at random so we were forced to flee with our children,” said Hapsita Fadoul, one of the women taking refuge in an emergency tent set up by members of the Zambian contingent of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA).
“We do not have arms to defend ourselves. You know, bullets don’t select their victims. We could not even take our belongings as we fled. We have arrived here and we find ourselves without shelter and without what to eat or drink. Really, we are suffering.”
The Prefect of Vakaga has however reassured that dispositions are being taken to ensure that the displaced persons are secure.
“We have received them as human beings. We have given them shelter. We have had a meeting with all the NGOs and MINUSCA and we are searching for ways to put them at ease,” Leonard Mbele, the prefect said.
During an emergency meeting summoned by the chief of the Birao bureau of MINUSCA on Feb. 16, various humanitarian actors operating in Vakaga estimated that it was imperative to act immediately to remedy the situation.
The World Food Programme (WFP) announced the punctual distribution of foodstuff for the displaced persons to have something to eat while waiting for a durable solution to be found.
“In concert with the prefect, we have arranged to see how to help these persons. There is already coordination between the WFP and other humanitarian actors to first identify the persons arriving and determine what their needs are,” Bessan Vikou, the chief of the MINUSCA bureau in Birao said.
“There is a mission of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the UN High Commission for Refugees which had been dispatched to Birao to evaluate the situation of these displaced persons.”
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