Aid reaches CAR refugees at airport camp

Delivery eases tensions among refugees, but will feed just one tenth of the 100,000 who have arrived at site in Bangui.

Last updated: 07 Jan 2014 21:57
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Tents at the makeshift camp have been fashioned out of palm leaves, bedsheets, cardboard and tarpaulin [AP]

Aid has begun to reach a makeshift refugee camp in the Central African Republic's capital Bangui, following several previous failed attempts to supply its 100,000 inhabitants.

The delivery on Tuesday would be enough for 12,000 of the 100,000 at the camp near the capital's airport, which was set up to house Christians fleeing violence between Muslim and Christian groups.

Two previous aid delivery efforts had been aborted, raising tensions at the airport, but Tuesday's delivery helped to ease the situation, witnesses said.

"The airport site is very complex. It isn't easy to manage more than 100,000 people. We tried it twice before and each time it was a failure," Catholic Archbishop Dieudonn Nzapalainga told Reuters.

Families at the camp have made tents from bedsheets, cardboard, tarpaulin and palm leaves.

Aid workers said the food aid should last for two weeks, but inhabitants believed it would be enough to cover less than half that time.

Security has deteriorated in the country amid a wave of inter-religious violence that started when a Muslim group, the Seleka, set off a wave of killing and looting in the majority Christian nation after seizing power in March.

This prompted reprisal attacks from militias, with the clashes killing more than 1,000 people since December.

The United Nations says 935,000 have been driven from their homes.


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