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SPECIAL REPORT

‘We have been abandoned,’ say CAR flood victims

Heavy rains have caused the Oubangui river to overflow, leaving several homeless in Bangui, CAR.
Heavy rains have caused the Oubangui river to overflow, leaving several homeless in Bangui, CAR. FRANCE 24 screengrab

Nearly 30,000 people have been displaced by flooding in the Central African Republic in the latest crisis to hit the war-torn country. A FRANCE 24 team reporting in the capital, Bangui, found residents displaced and struggling to cope on their own.

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Standing in ankle-deep muddy water, Roger Zéphirin points to mud huts that seem to be dissolving in the deluge.

“Everything you see are houses that are destroyed,” said the 48-year-old father of seven children.

After the two weeks of heavy rains, the Oubangui river banks have flooded many neighbourhoods in Bangui. The floods have left more than 30,000 people homeless, plunging the country to the brink of yet another humanitarian disaster.

Flood victims have been struggling to cope on their own, hoping for the arrival of international assistance following the government’s call for help.

Lydie Yango is sleeping in a makeshift tent with 20 other people and her patience is wearing thin. “We have been abandoned. Not even an official, or the mayor, came to see us. See how we suffer,” she said.

The Central African Republic (CAR) has been mired in a brutal civil war since the 2013 ouster of President Francois Bozizé by a coalition of rebel groups.

The militias have since been fighting each other or the government, forcing around a quarter of the country's 4.7 million people to flee their homes.

The UN estimated in September that two-thirds of CAR’s population requires humanitarian aid to survive.

The latest flooding has hit residents of Bangui, still recovering from six years of war, with yet another crisis in a fragile state with poor, if any, public services.

Leko Claudine has a sick child and is growing desperate. “My daughter is suffering from malaria, and I do not have enough resources to care for her. Even to eat it is very difficult. We don't have anything,” she said, summarising the situation for too many crises-hit Central Africans.

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