“Rains have flooded and damaged our huts and fields. Drinking water is scarce and diseases are making life even more precarious.” This is how the internally displaced population in Bocaranga, in the western region of the Central African Republic, described their current living situation to the Cordaid team.
“Water is coming!”
Feikeram Arlette, a 35-year-old woman, mother of 9 children and living in the small village of Mbilaye, told us: “I fell asleep without any worries around 9 PM. Indeed, the rainy season reached its highest point but I didn’t expect what was about to happen. At 2 o’clock in the morning, I was suddenly awoken by the rumblings of thunders and the cries of the neighbors, shouting aloud: ‘Water is coming! Water is coming!’. Very quickly, water was everywhere in the village, huts began to yield, people hurriedly left their houses, bringing the few personal belongings that they could take with them. Our fields are completely flooded, gardens are under water, and our food supplies are completely destroyed and damaged by the rage of water.”
Water supply built by Cordaid in Bocaranga. Photo: Marcelin Ridja
Another displaced person, Kouzou Samuel (52 years old, father of 8 children) explained: “Floods have destroyed my lands and my plantations of manioc, yam, corn, and peanut.” Nah Clement (52 years old, father of 11 children), displaced from Koui and living in Mbilaye said that it was the biggest flood in the area since he has lived there and that he was worried about what might happen during the rest of the rainy season.
Flooded lands in Bocaranga. Photo: Marcelin Ridja
Emergency aid and awareness
Cordaid’s technical teams (Food Security, Water, and Sanitation, Community Mobilization and Protection) are working together in order to provide assistance to the displaced populations who have lost everything. They have distributed emergency food rations and provided support to restart basic livelihoods activities, as well as conducting awareness-raising activities on good hygiene and sanitation practices.
“Cordaid’s humanitarian assistance is more important than ever.”
Despite these efforts, the humanitarian needs are enormous and exacerbated by both the volatile security situation that persists in the prefecture of Ouham Pendé and climate change, which negatively impacts the resilience of the most vulnerable populations.
In the village of Manja, Eugenie Bangue (37 years old, mother of 7 children) told us that she was worried about the impact of the addition of climatic hazards to the already existent situation of insecurity and social tension that prevails in the Bocaranga sub-prefecture. Given her already difficult living conditions, she is praying that no more devastating rains arrive and stays hopeful that Cordaid’s assistance will at least allow her to resume her agricultural activities.
Given the many difficulties that both the displaced and host communities in Ouham Pendé confront, Cordaid’s humanitarian assistance is more important than ever, to help these communities maintain their dignity and to build resilience for the challenges that lie ahead.