I haven't posted much on the Central African Republic for the same reason I rarely post on the Democratic Republic of Congo: Too few reliable sources, too many horrors. But MSF is on the ground in CAR and very unhappy. Today it published Open Letter to the UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator on Central African Republic. Excerpt (but read the whole thing):
Geneva, December 12, 2013
Dear Ms. Amos,
With this Open Letter, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) wishes to express its deep concern about the unacceptable performance of the United Nations humanitarian system in the Central African Republic over the last year.
In December 2012, when the first rebel offensive in CAR halted a few kilometers from the capital, most UN staff were already evacuated from Bangui and from field locations. Following the coup d’état, the UN finally redeployed beyond the capital six months later, its positioning justified by vague security concerns. Emergency directors did not carry out an assessment until October.
During the growing emergency of the last three months, and most recently in Bangui just a few days ago, there has been no evidence of an adequate humanitarian reaction to the needs generated by repeated outbreaks of violence. The only actions undertaken by UN aid officials have been the collection of data related to the fighting and a few assessments confirming the need for an immediate response. Repeated evaluations in the face of glaring needs, and numerous coordination meetings, have not led to any concrete action around the main hotspots.
Two recent examples best illustrate the situation: MSF has repeatedly asked UN agencies to deliver food, tents and soap to the more than 15,000 people displaced in the vicinity of Bangui’s airport, without any reaction; in Bossangoa, UN aid officials on security lock-down inside the FOMAC compound did not even provide assistance to the displaced sheltering inside the same compound, forcing MSF to intervene once more.
Following the fighting in Bossangoa, the UN remained on security lock-down for days, abandoning the more than 30,000 displaced persons in the main Bossangoa camps, while MSF and ACF teams move through the city to provide emergency assistance.
Despite increased international awareness over recent months about the crisis, the extreme living conditions for tens of thousands of displaced around Bossangoa have not led to the deployment of additional experienced aid workers, or to the roll-out of an effective emergency response capacity since early September 2013. The scant aid scale-up required for months is failing a displaced population in dire need of water and sanitation assistance. Desperate civilians have not been provided with even the minimum standards required in such emergency settings.