Central African Republic: Hundreds Wounded and Thousands Displaced in Bangui

Following violence in Bangui on December 5, hundreds of people are wounded, and thousands have fled, regrouping in several sites around the city. Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is expanding activities to continue to treat the wounded and provide health services to about 14,000 people in two of the main sites for displaced people in the city.

Over the past two days MSF teams have treated 190 wounded patients in the Hospital Communautaire of Bangui. Most have wounds caused by gunshots, or weapons like machetes and knives. The hospital is now overloaded with patients and the wounded continued to arrive today. An additional number of wounded are treated in the camps for the displaced and referred for further care if needed.

“Until now we’ve been treating the influx of people wounded by attacks but we’re worried that the hospitalization capacity of the Hospital Communautaire will soon be saturated,” said Marie Elisabeth Ingres, project coordinator in the hospital.

MSF teams are strengthening hospital services by opening a second operating theater, setting up three tents to increase hospitalization capacity, and are sending a second surgical team. Today, MSF has also started working in Castor Health Center, treating patients with minor wounds and providing health services for pregnant women.

“There are also an increasing number of displaced families gathering in different sites around the city,” Ingres said. “They’re living in extremely precarious conditions and it’s urgent for more actors to mobilize and provide them with assistance.”

MSF is carrying out mobile clinics for about 14,000 displaced gathered in Bangui airport and in Don Bosco center. MSF teams are also providing health services to children under five, pregnant women, and wounded patients who are referred to Castor Health Center or Hospital Communautaire if needed. In Don Bosco, teams are also providing hygiene facilities for the 5,000 to 6,000 displaced people who have gathered there.

Over the past few days fighting also broke out in Bossangoa, about 300 kilometers north of Bangui. MSF teams treated about 20 wounded patients in Bossangoa and continue to provide health care and water and sanitation services to the 35,000 displaced people living in the town.

MSF has been working in CAR since 1997, and now runs seven regular projects in Batangafo, Boguila, Carnot, Kabo, Ndéle, Paoua, and Zémio and three emergency projects in Bossangoa, Bouca, and Bria. A mobile emergency team provides care in Mbaiki and Yaloké zones, and MSF plans to begin activities in Bangassou and Ouango. In total, MSF is providing free medical care to about 400,000 people in CAR, and more than 100 international and 1,100 local staff work in seven hospitals, two health centers and 40 health posts across the country.