Ombretta’s Field Diary: Hard at Work in Bangui

March 27th was quiet in Bangui but, as usual, the peace lasted less than 24 hours.

This morning we were woken by the sound of far-off shooting: it was coming from Fatima, an area to the south-east of the capital. A Christian wake was targeted by grenades launched by groups of Muslims. It seems there were many wounded and around a dozen killed.

An 11-year old girl arrived at the Complexe Pédiatrique with arm and leg injuries caused by grenade splinters. Her two sisters and her mother are dead.

Now everyone’s afraid there’ll be a new upsurge of violence and retaliation.

In these conditions, it’s very hard for us to get around. After assessing the safety situation today, we decided to go back to the refugee camp as planned, but crossing markets packed with agitated people and seeing overloaded taxis being stopped always creates some anxiety among our staff when they’re trying to move around. And the unpredictability of what might happen only adds extra tension.

We examined around ninety children in the camp. Three of them were in a serious condition so we transferred them to the Paediatric Centre where they’ll be able to get the necessary treatment.

A pregnant girl told us she’d been raped about 6 months ago; since then she’s never received any medical care so we decided to take her to the clinic for a prenatal check-up. Conditions in the camp are hard. The number of inhabitants has doubled in the last few days, reaching a figure of 10,000.

In the Paediatric Centre too, we’re still examining lots of children: today there were over 100.

Ombretta, EMERGENCY Program Coordinator Central African Republic

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