The distribution, to roughly a quarter of the town’s displaced households, was made in close cooperation with Muslim and Christian displacement site leaders, who identified the most vulnerable, including pregnant women, the elderly and the sick. Kits were divided according to specific needs.
Boda is one of the most desperate cases in the Central African Republic (CAR) crisis. Divided along religious lines, hungry and exposed to the elements, people are in desperate need of food, shelter and medical assistance.
Approximately 1,000 homes were destroyed when the conflict flared up on 29 January between Seleka (Muslim-affiliated militia) and Anti-Balaka (Christian affiliated militia), most in mixed neighborhoods and on the streets that divide the Christian and Muslim neighborhoods. The Seleka have since departed, and the Anti-Balaka have an influential presence.
More than 19,500 Christians and 14,300 Muslims are now living at 11 displacement sites in Boda. Hundreds more continue live in the bush after fleeing the conflict. Emaciated children are a common site within the Muslim enclave, which is surrounded by Anti-Balaka militia. French Sangaris and UNMISCA troops are providing security
Both the Christian and Muslim communities have asked the international community for help and on March 29th IOM opened a sub-office in the town.
An IOM doctor and six locally hired nurses now run a mobile medical clinic in Boda, alternating days between Christian and Muslim displacement sites and the Boda Hospital. The medical team distributes numbers to clinic visitors in order of arrival up to 100 and prioritizes the urgent cases. Those who cannot be helped are asked to return the next day.
The team’s stock of medicine has quickly run low because of the number of people requesting treatment. There are many serious cases of malnourished children, people living with HIV and TB without treatment, and occasional machete and gunshot wounds.
Before 29 January, Boda was considered a safe city. Many pastoralist families decided to bring their children to Boda and men returned to the bush. These families have been separated since the conflict began. Many are traumatized, still waiting for news of their loved ones and are requesting to go to Kenzo, an area to the west on the Cameroon-CAR border, where they believe their families may be.
IOM has already registered some 700 third country nationals who are requesting evacuation to Cameroon, Chad, Mali, Niger, Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Approximately 60 per cent are children.
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