More than 1,700 people who fled attacks in the Central African Republic (CAR) have streamed into neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance, aid agencies say.
“This population, estimated at 1,727 people, are fleeing atrocities being committed by armed elements who invaded their home villages since June 2012, forcing them to cross the Ubangi River and seek refuge in the DRC,” according to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).
The refugees, from the eastern CAR villages of Gbasiki and Gbazamba, are now living in the northern DRC villages of Pendu and Guele “in precarious conditions and [they] require urgent assistance,” the Federation said.
They have little access to potable water or food, according to the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
"They lack both food and non-food items. The refugees are 5 times more numerous than the local population,” Yvon Edoumou, public information officer for OCHA in DRC, told IRIN.
“Pregnant mothers are giving birth in unhealthy conditions,” he said, adding that the refugees’ only source of water was the Ubangi River, which is also a source of waterborne disease.