Caritas Internationalis is launching a huge recovery effort in the Central African Republic after months of turmoil have left the country devastated.
Caritas is appealing for € 1.2 million to provide food, shelter, education and healthcare to those in need inside the country. In addition, Caritas is running a €500,000 relief effort in neighbouring Chad for refugees from the Central African Republic (CAR).
Lives remain directly threatened in CAR. Over 20,000 people are besieged by armed militias in 18 different places around the country. Most Muslims have been driven out of the western half of the country by militias formed from the majority Christian population.
Caritas is supporting international and national interreligious peacebuilding initiatives to help stem the violence.
“We need a significant UN peacekeeping presence here,” said Archbishop Dieudonné Nzapalainga of Bangui, President of Caritas CAR. “Muslim lives are under threat, there still could be a genocide,” he said.
Half the population is in need of aid. Over 600,000 people have fled their homes and are seeking safety in camps or places of worship such as churches and mosques. Malnutrition rates among them are alarming.
Caritas will work throughout the country, helping 100,000 people (21,447 households).
Widespread looting has left people without the equipment they need to grow crops. Caritas aid will include providing seeds and agriculture tools.
Many houses have been burned or destroyed. Caritas will provide kits to help rebuild their homes, ensuring 450 families have adequate shelter by the end of the year.
Clinics and hospitals that were damaged in the fighting will be repaired. Caritas will help resupply them with medicine.
Caritas says every child back in school in Central African Republic is a victory. School kits will be provided to 14,400 children orphaned or who are living in very difficult circumstances. Caritas will also work with parents to help them support their children to complete school.
Caritas will promote peace by creating local groups of young peacemakers to help improve dialogue and cooperation across fractured communities.