Central African Republic: Nearly 700 people seeking refuge near UN base relocated
This week the United Nations migration agency completed the relocation of 698 internally displaced households from an impromptu camp that formed around the UN peacekeeping mission in the Central African Republic (CAR) following attacks in Kaga Bandoro on 12 October 2016.
Over 20,000 people settled around the Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) base after ex-Séléka members attacked an internally displaced person (IDP) camp in Evêché, the Prefect’s office and the UN mission’s camp.
“Consultation sessions with the households allowed us to ensure that their particular needs are met and they are fully informed and consulted all along the process,” said IOM CAR Chief of Mission Jean-François Aguilera, referring to numerous sessions held with camp residents in partnership with the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
Following August’s visit of the Humanitarian Coordinator and the Ministry of Humanitarian Actions of Kaga Bandoro, it was recommended that all IDPs be urgently relocated to safe nearby locations.
The relocation of the first bloc of the provisional camp ran from 17 to 25 October and involved 312 households, 15 of which returned to their old neighbourhood.
The relocation of ‘Bloc Nine,’ which was near a fuel depot – exposing residents to health risks – began on 26 October and finished on 3 November. It included a total of 319 households, with one returning to its old neighbourhood.
From 4 to 7 November, 67 households close to ‘Bloc One’ were also relocated. Bloc One had complicated the landing and take-off of planes, forcing humanitarian aviation operators to suspend flights – gravely affecting humanitarian efforts by preventing programme implementations and medical evacuations.
“The dangerous position of Blocs One and Nine made it very clear to IOM and CAR’s humanitarian team that everyone must be urgently relocated to a safer location,” Mr. Aguilera said.
IOM assisted the 682 relocated households in transporting all their belongings, including huts and hangars, to safe new locations. They also received non-food item kits and $44 per household, which totalled $30,103. The 16 returning households were provided with return kits and assisted in rehabilitating their homes and transporting their belongings.
CAR is experiencing a resurgence of violence and faces the risk of repeating the devastating crisis that beset the country four years ago. The number of both IDPs and refugees in neighbouring countries have dramatically increased over the past few months.