More than 13,000 people living in villages between the towns of Bouar and Bohong, in the west of the Central African Republic, have received seed and farming equipment in the past few days. This region has been the scene of clashes between armed groups in recent months, with serious consequences for the local people. Fleeing for their lives after their houses were vandalized, ransacked and burned down, thousands of people sought refuge in the surrounding bush or in other parts of the country.
“The villagers have returned home to find their homes looted and their crops and granaries destroyed,” explained Charlotte Bennborn, who coordinates the economic security programmes run by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in the Central African Republic. “They need seed and tools to resume their farming, which is not only central to the way of life of communities in this region, but essential for their survival. This is the challenge they face on a daily basis.”
To help people meet that challenge, from 10 to 14 June the ICRC and the Central African Red Cross distributed seed and farming equipment in some 30 villages. Families there each received 10 kg of maize seed, 5 kg of bean seed, 3 kg of sesame seed, and hoes. “Each farming family will, we hope, be able to grow some 800 kg of maize, 55 kg of beans and 102 kg of sesame. With this, they will be able to feed themselves in the coming months,” said Ms Bennborn.
In addition to this farming assistance, the ICRC, in cooperation with the Central African Red Cross, regularly distributes food to thousands of particularly vulnerable displaced people and returnees in Bangui and elsewhere in the country, most recently in Ndele and Dekoa.