Fears of an Epidemic Outbreak in the Central African Republic

Fears of an Epidemic Outbreak in the Central African Republic

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Francine Uenuma 202.450.9153

A mother with a 3 week old baby in a displacement camp in Bangui, which is home to thousands of people sheltering from the fighting going on in Central African Republic. December 2013. Photo: Greg Funnell/Save the Children
A mother with a 3 week old baby in a displacement camp in Bangui, which is home to thousands of people sheltering from the fighting going on in Central African Republic. December 2013. Photo: Greg Funnell/Save the Children

BANGUI, Central African Republic (Jan. 2, 2014) — Save the Children has serious concerns about the potential for a disease outbreak in the Central African Republic (CAR), where nearly 800,000 people have been displaced by the continuing violence.

Families continue to flood into internal displacement (IDP) camps in the capital, Bangui, fleeing inter-ethnic violence in and around the city. Humanitarian agencies including Save the Children are trying to meet their health, food and protection needs, but a highly unstable security situation and lack of funds are hampering relief efforts.

Conditions at the IDP camps are shocking: thousands of children are sitting out in the baking sun every day with little in the way of shelter or sanitation. With raw sewage running through the camps and a limited supply of clean water, there is a high risk of a disease outbreak, particularly cholera.

A Monastery in Bangui houses thousands of people sheltering from the sectarian fighting going on in Bangui, Central African Republic. 8th December 2013. Photo: Greg Funnell / Save the Children
Photo: Greg Funnell / Save the Children

Tom Godfrey, Save the Children's Operations Director in CAR, says: "The situation in the IDP camps, particularly Bangui where there has been heavy fighting over the last week, is extremely concerning. The stench of sewage is heavy in the air and we are worried about the potential for disease to spread. With tens of thousands of people living in close quarters with little or no shelter, an epidemic could spread like wildfire."

Save the Children in working across the Central African Republic, helping to provide healthcare, nutrition and child protection. In Bangui, we are running primary health clinics and Child Friendly Spaces. We have also reunited 44 unaccompanied children with their families in one of the camps alone.

Our team is looking to scale up operations, including reopening one of the country's main hospitals, but to do that Save the Children urgently needs more funding for emergency relief in CAR to enable us to carry out urgent humanitarian work with children and families. For more information, go to www.savethechildren.org/car.

Save the Children is the leading, independent organization that creates lasting change for children in need in the United States and around the world. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

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