Saturday, January 11, 2014

CAR: " You pack your world within a suitcase, hot tears melt this icy palace,"

International Organization for Migration reports

IOM begins airlift of stranded migrants from Central African Republic

An IOM medical team provides medical screening and treatment for migrants fleeing the violence in CAR.

Central African Republic - IOM will tomorrow (11/1/2014) start an airlift to evacuate stranded foreign nationals from the Central African Republic (CAR), following appeals from neighbouring African countries.

The first three IOM charter flights this weekend will repatriate some 800 Chadians from the war torn CAR capital of Bangui to the Chadian capital N’Djamena.

This is essential. They will be killed if they are not evacuated. The Muslim rebels of Seleka have by their brutality brought about the collapse of their rebellion, they have murdered robbed and raped thousands of Christians and it would seem left the ground for the the AU / MISCA (Support Mission to the Central African Republic ) and French peacekeepers. The problem is there are no where near enough of them.

The 800 are part of a group of some 2,500 Chadians sheltering in a transit camp adjacent to Bangui airport, living in terrible conditions at the over-crowded and insanitary site.

Revenge is never rational but the 2500 Chadians have now lost everything except at this stage their lives, if they are not repatriated the Christian community will kill them. This situation could still develop into a religious genocide. Whilst the Seleka rebels were in charge the Muslim population enjoyed immunity that has finished. From the BBC: 

"The Muslims knocked on our door and asked us, 'do you have any guns?," she told me. "We said no, but they took my son out and they shot him. They shot all of our sons, one by one."

The conflict in the country has displaced some 935,000 people, including some 513,000 – about half of the population – in Bangui alone. Thousands of homes have been damaged or looted. Many displaced families are thought to be seeking shelter in churches and schools, as well as in the airport camp.

IOM has received requests for assistance from Chad, Niger, Mali, Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to evacuate thousands of their most vulnerable, stranded nationals. The organization is also working with Senegal, Guinea, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Nigeria and Cameroon to provide post arrival re-integration assistance to migrants evacuated by their governments.

It makes a lot of sense to get the all foreign nationals out many of them will be Christians but the CAR is facing a food crisis. The UN reports: 

" 31 December 2013 – United Nations agencies today warned of possible famine and severe malnutrition in the Central African Republic (CAR), calling on donors to provide urgent funding to mitigate the crisis in the impoverished country where a year of conflict has already killed thousands of people and driven 750,000 others from their homes."

“Several concerned governments including Mali, Senegal, Niger and Chad have already organized evacuation flights, but need additional resources to cope with all the migrants wanting to leave the CAR and those arriving home, who are often destitute. IOM is helping in a variety of ways, including providing onward transport for returnees,” says IOM West Africa Director Carmela Godeau.

A total of over 60,000 migrants from neighbouring countries have already asked for assistance from their embassies in the CAR. Nearly 27,000 have already been evacuated by their governments, leaving at least 33,000 in urgent need of help.

Again the problem is personnel there aren't enough troops to protect them or people to organise evacuation. 

“The evacuation of these migrants must be done quickly and in an orderly manner to avoid people trying to leave on their own overland and taking terrible risks, in desperation,” says Godeau.

The country will be infested with armed groups including retreating Seleka I have yet to see any reports from outside the capital but I am expecting some very unpleasant reading.

Many Chadian migrants trying to return home on their own are increasingly finding themselves stranded in dangerous border areas. As of Tuesday, 7,600 Chadians, most of them women and children, had arrived destitute in the border areas of Gore and Sido in southern Chad. Many others may attempt the same route, unless they can be evacuated in an orderly operation with international assistance.

IOM has deployed 15 operations and medical staff in Bangui to organize airlifts of the kind used to repatriate tens of thousands of migrants following the 2011 Libyan crisis.

It doesn't sound like anywhere near enough.

The first three evacuation flights between Bangui and N’Djamena will be funded by IOM’s revolving Migration Emergency Funding Mechanism (MEFM).

But IOM today launched an appeal of USD 17.5 million to evacuate up to 10,000 African migrants from the CAR and to help 50,000 to resettle after they return home. IOM will receive returnees at return ports of entry, assist with onward transportation to final destinations, provide support packages on arrival and help people to cope with reintegration challenges.

The legacy of Seleka, CAR President Djotodia and PM Tiangaye. Djotodia I think should for the sake all concerned now go into exile. 

“Most of these migrants are going back to poor countries where it will be difficult for them to start a new life and earn a living. They will need help once they arrive home. Reintegration assistance is a key part of every evacuation operation,” says Godeau.

The Seleka criminals should be hunted down and brought in front of the ICC if that isn't possible just hunted down will do.

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