Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO) operating in the Central African Republic have expressed joy over the arrival of the first unescorted basic supplies into the country from Cameroon.
This follows an announcement last week that the Douala-Bangui corridor would be reopened to traffic on Friday, March 5, as a consequence of an agreement between the Central African Republic and Cameroonian governments.
For three months, rebels of the Coalition of Patriots for Change (CPC) blocked the corridor with the intention of asphyxiating the national capital, Bangui, which is supplied from the Cameroonian seaport of Douala.
“In this first convoy, there was 135 tons of foodstuff. For the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), we have a total of 600 tons of foodstuff to quickly bring in from Cameroon,” said Yves Van Loo, Assistant Chief of the ICRC delegation in the Central African Republic in charge of operations.
“We were a little disturbed because our stocks were depleting. It is true that if things had remained the way they were for long, we would have made alternative arrangements.”
The International Red Cross vehicles had crossed several front lines and circulated when the zone was under the control of the CPC fighters then on their return, the road was under the control of the national army, FACA and its Rwandan and Russian allies.
“It is our hope that this first convoy without an escort would open the way to others,” Mame Ibrahima Tounka, the leader of the convoy said.
“We dare hope that this convoy which has been organised would open the road for humanitarian access so that humanitarian organisations can continue to come here in the Central African Republic with assistance from Cameroon and can reinforce and maintain our capacity to respond because the vulnerable populations in the Central African Republic are very much in need,” the ICRC chief of operations stated.
HumAngle understands that the ICRC intends to organise other convoys within the next weeks to bring foodstuff, seeds and products for the treatment of water to Bangui.
Humanitarian needs in the Central African Republic remain enormous and charity organisations estimate that the crisis which began in Dec. 2020 has displaced over 140,000 persons, bringing to over 1.5 million displaced persons from the country who have sought refuge in neighbouring countries.
They estimate that one in every two Central African Republic citizens is in need of food aid.
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