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Handicap International mobilises more than 300 workers to reopen CAR airstrip

Emergency
Central African Republic

Since 2012, civilians have borne the brunt of chronic violence in the Central African Republic. Insecurity and the destruction or neglect of road and air facilities have severely compromised the transport of humanitarian aid.

Renovating Zemio's aerodrome runway

Renovating Zemio's aerodrome runway, CAR | © Handicap International

The region of Haut-Mobomou, on the border with DRC, has been wracked by violent clashes between armed groups since the middle of summer. Humanitarian organisations have experienced problems accessing Zemio, a town in the centre of the region, despite an urgent need to supply aid to the local population and displaced families.

To remedy the situation, Handicap International and UNHAS, the UN Humanitarian Air Service, launched an operation to repair the town’s airstrip in mid-August, when more than 330 people cleared undergrowth and performed grading tasks (pothole repairs).

The work[1] was completed in record time and the 1.35-kilometre long, 50-metre wide airstrip is suitable for landing aircraft. A 5 tonne-capacity freighter funded by Fonds Humanitaire now delivers emergency aid to this region plagued by violence.

Since 2012, regular unrest - including a coup d’état by the Seleka rebel coalition in March 2013 - has led to a state of heightened insecurity in the country, significantly worsening an already precarious humanitarian situation.  

At the end of September 2015, an upsurge in violence in Bangui and other parts of the Central African Republic left some 79 people dead, injured hundreds of others, and led to the additional displacement of over 42,000 people in Bangui and 20,000 in Bambari and Dekoa. This violence has also made it more difficult for humanitarian organisations to access the most vulnerable people.

Handicap International launched its response in the country in December 2015 when it opened a logistics platform and began contributing to the humanitarian relief effort.


[1] Funded by UNHAS

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