LWF Providing Assistance in Central African Republic Crisis

Newly arrived refugees from the Central African Republic receive a hot meal in Dosseye camp in southern Chad. Photo: LWF Chad/S. Dalou
Newly arrived refugees from the Central African Republic receive a hot meal in Dosseye camp in southern Chad. Photo: LWF Chad/S. Dalou

Hot Meals and Non-Food Items Provided

(LWI) - The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) Department for World Service (DWS) is providing emergency assistance to thousands of people fleeing the violence in the Central African Republic (CAR) that heightened at the end of 2013.

Jan Schutte, DWS country representative in Chad, said the LWF is continuing to monitor the situation while working with the government to assess the needs.

In partnership with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), DWS is providing hot meals for CAR refugees fleeing to Chad. According to DWS, during December the crisis in CAR escalated and over the past weeks more than 1,000 people were killed in sectarian violence in Bangui alone.

The African Union has sent 4,000 troops to CAR, while France, the former colonial power, has deployed 1,600 soldiers.

Because of the increasing violence, on 21 December the Chadian government began evacuating by air and road its nationals who want to leave CAR. Several hundred thousand Chad nationals have lived in CAR, many for generations, while Chad hosts 70,000 refugees from CAR.  

LWF Chad said that 15,000 persons have been evacuated thus far, mostly women, children, the wounded and the elderly. Eight transit centers have been set up. Between 3,000 and 7,000 persons await evacuation from Bangui in CAR to Chad.

Over the past couple of weeks, thousands of Chadians have fled the violence in CAR to return to Chad.

CAR has been wracked by violence since the overthrow of then-President Francois Bozize in March 2013, and the conflict is becoming increasingly sectarian in tone with the mostly Muslim Seleka militia clashing with Christian groups, media reports say.

The Government of Chad is requesting international organizations as well as its own population to assist those fleeing CAR with shelter, transportation and psycho-social support. Mohammed Abdiker of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said it is ready to assist but needs funding.

“We must stress to our donors and partners that migrants’ lives are at great risk,” he said.

For its part, the LWF is expecting a new shipment of non-food items from Lutheran World Relief consisting of 13,500 quilts, 1,500 layettes and 2,500 school kits, and will make some of these items available to those affected by the crisis. The LWF Chad program continues to monitor the situation.