World Bulletin / News Desk
A South African humanitarian organization recently teamed up with Turkey's Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH) to help thousands of Muslims from the Central African Republic (CAR) currently living in dire humanitarian conditions in refugee camps in neighboring Chad.
"We saw people in dire need," Moulana Mohamed Chodree, projects administrator for the Al-Imdaad Foundation, told Anadolu Agency in an interview.
"The refugees left CAR with barely northing. They need basic items like clothes, groceries and medication," Chodree, who had just returned from Chad, said.
The U.N. estimates that over 290,000 people have fled the landlocked country to neighboring countries.
Fleeing an unprecedented surge in sectarian attacks on their co-religionists since March, thousands of Muslims have since trickled into Chad.
Chodree said his organization had partnered with IHH in order to help the refugees.
"We procured all the foodstuffs in [Chadian capital] Ndjamena and drove hundreds of kilometers, where we supplied it to refugees in the Doba and Gore refugee camps," he added.
"People there are in real need; we are looking at how we can help them in the long term," the relief worker asserted.
CAR descended into anarchy one year ago when seleka rebels removed Francois Bozize, a Christian who had come to power in a 2003 coup. The rebels later installed Michel Djotodia, a Muslim, as interim president.
Since then, the country has been plagued by tit-for-tat sectarian violence between Christian anti-balaka militias and Muslim former seleka fighters.
Anti-Muslim violence has escalated since Djotodia, the country's first Muslim president since independence from France in 1960, stepped down in January and was replaced by Catherine Samba-Panza, a Christian mayor of the capital, Bangui.
Christians, who account for the majority of the country's population, accuse Muslims of supporting former seleka rebels blamed for attacking Christian homes, looting property and carrying out summary executions.
As of August 31, 2013, Chad was already hosting 348,528 Sudanese and 74,131 Central African refugees.
Chodree said his organization would return with more aid to the refugee camps before the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which will begin this year in late June.
"Insha' Allah [God willing], we hope to go back before Ramadan and offer more aid," he told AA.
The Al-Imdaad Foundation, a non-profit relief organization registered in South Africa, is dedicated to providing humanitarian services in crisis and non-crisis situations.
U.N. Humanitarian Coordinator Abdou Dieng on Wednesday voiced regret that only 21 percent of the nearly $500 million in vital assistance to CAR – pledged by donors at a January meeting in Brussels – had been delivered so far.
"This is one of our biggest challenges, because without money it will be very difficult to address the needs of the population," Dieng told a press conference in Bangui.
The U.N. estimates that some 2.2 million people in CAR – about half the country's total population – are in need of humanitarian assistance.Last Mod: 28 Mart 2014, 10:17