The Central African Republic (CAR), although rarely mentioned in international media, is facing an ongoing crisis. In 2013, a coalition of rebel groups named the Seleka forcefully took control of the capital Bangui. A self-defense group, the Anti-Balaka, formed to counter them. Fighting ensued between the groups and even today there is widespread insecurity in CAR. 2.3 million people remain in need of humanitarian aid and 385,800 are internally displaced (www.unocha.org/car).
The ongoing effects from the conflict are immense. The crisis exacerbated pre-existing weaknesses in the country’s medical infrastructure. A cholera outbreak has now struck Bangui, the capital, and is spreading to Boda, an area where Tearfund works. By the end of August, 235 cases had been confirmed in CAR (OCHA Humanitarian Bulletin, August 2016).
Tearfund is raising awareness on hygiene and sanitation to stop the spread of cholera at this critical time. In Boda, water points are being disinfected before they are handed over to the community and teams are distributing chlorine tablets to purify the water. Tearfund-run hygiene promotion projects are educating communities about the importance of handwashing and clean water.
Tearfund has helped people like Kande. Kande’s life used to consist of fetching 10 jerry cans of water each day from a community well. Hauling the water up from the well exhausted Kande and hurt her arms. Even when she managed to collect enough water, it would be dirty and smelly, unsafe for consumption. Diseases, such as cholera, can spread rapidly in these conditions.
Tearfund protected the well and installed a hand pump. Kande says: ‘The water tastes good now and with the training I’ve received I can protect my children from sickness.’
‘Everyone in the community is happy that the water is now safe, that it is maintained and looked after properly. It seems like there is more water for everyone!’
Join us in thanking God for Kande and the joy that has come to her community through having clean water.
Lift up those who need healing from having contracted cholera and pray the outbreak comes to an end.
Pray for protection over Tearfund staff and pray for their encouragement even as they work in difficult conditions.
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