Baby Bonane was the youngest evacuee. Credit: Cordaid

Baby Bonane, son of a Cordaid employee, was the youngest evacuee. Credit: Cordaid

By CORDAID (Caritas Netherlands) staff

Rebel attacks in the Central African Republic have left communities terrified. The violence got so bad in early January that some aid agencies evacuated employees. On January 17, a boat called “God of Wonders” docked in the capital, Bangui. Among its passengers were some Cordaid (Caritas Netherlands) employees who could not be evacuated by air earlier on.

It was necessary to evacuate the Cordaid employees because of the rebel army, which in December 2012 had launched an offensive to depose the president.

By the beginning of January it looked as if the rebels’ advance couldn’t be contained and a large part of the country was already in their hands. Recent negotiations between the rebels and the government has resulted in a new peace agreement.

In the meantime, however, a large proportion of the population had fled from the violence. It was also necessary to evacuate Cordaid employees, partially by air and, due to the limited number of flights, also by boat. Because the roads were unsafe, a three-day journey by boat along the river was the only way to escape the area.

For the duration of the boat journey they lived in hope and fear and prayed constantly. We are, of course, very pleased that Justin, Theodore, Hilaire, Paterne, Thierry and other members of their family have arrived safely in the capital. The youngest passenger on board was Bonane, who was born on 1 January 2013 and is the son of Cordaid accountant, Thierry (see photo).

Story first published on the CORDAID website.