20 January 2014

SOS Children’s Villages, Central African Republic Reeling from Sectarian Violence

The Current Situation in The Central African Republic

1/20/2014: As of January 20th, a new interim president for the Central African Republic has been named. Catherine Samba-Panza has a year to address the increasingly sectarian violence that has engulfed the population. In the past few weeks, sporadic attacks have caused casualties within both the predominately Muslim Seleka group and the largely Christian Anti-Balaka faction. The violence that began in March of 2013 seems only to escalate.

SOS Children’s Villages in the CAR

Despite this grim state of affairs, the two SOS Children’s Villages in the Central African Republic remain stable and safe. In Bouar, which has seen sporadic clashes and vandalized shops, the SOS Children’s Village remains protected behind a fence and a guard of Multinational Force of Central Africa (FOMAC) soldiers. For safety, all non-essential SOS co-workers have been asked to remain at home.

While the village is on the outskirts of the city, SOS is also working within the city to provide food, water, fuel and support to the local community. The Medical Center will remain open to provide medical care. UNICEF has requested that SOS Children’s Villages provide child protection intervention for Bouar, and SOS is working closely with UNICEF, World Health Organization and World Food Program to ensure that all children in the affected regions receive care.

Future Plans

SOS Children’s Villages is currently in contact with the Civil and Military Coordination (CMCOORD) from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA, an organization that works to secure expats and staff of international organizations) . At the beginning of February, Child & Maternal Health Care Advisor AFME Benedetta di Niederhausern and CO FIS Coordinator Cisse Djibril are going to the Central African Republic on a joint mission with UNAIDS and UNICEF to assess the situation and put measures in place to keep the CAR’s children safe.