News from Central African Republic

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As you may or may not know, there is currently major unrest in Central African Republic (CAR). This story is dear to us, because it’s a place where we have been heavily involved since 2007 — investing nearly $3.5 million (most of which came from the 2010 September Campaign) and funding 414 water points to serve nearly 300,000 people. That’s almost 6% of the total population.

We have local partners at Integrated Community Development International (ICDI) who we’ve worked with for several years — so we’re following the situation very closely.

Here’s what we know about the current situation:

• There’s been a rebel uprising since December, with multiple rebel groups joining under an umbrella group called Seleka (meaning ‘alliance’ in Sango, a local language)
• A ceasefire was agreed in January. It fell apart, and fighting resumed, with Seleka taking over a few key towns
• Yesterday, Seleka took over the capital city of Bangui. President Bozizé left the country and is believed to be in Cameroon
• There was looting and gunfire in Bangui during the coup. 13 South African peacekeepers were also killed
• Michael Djotodia of Seleka has declared himself the new President, but the rebels appear to be divided over his rule

How this affects our work:

We currently have one grant in process with ICDI for 195 water projects. Due to the security situation, ICDI has stalled all operations in CAR. Most of their drilling, rehabilitation, and maintenance teams have returned either to their homes or to ICDI’s base in the less-affected city of Berbérati to the west. We do not yet know when it will be safe enough for the teams to resume work, but we will keep you posted.

Recommended info:

CNN: What’s behind the turmoil in the Central African Republic
Centrafrique Presse: Seleka press release in French (use Google Chrome to translate)
Twitter: #Centrafrique, #CAR, #RCA

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