CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC: Medical Supply Donation is Saving Lives Thanks to Ongoing Partnership between Salesian Missions, Stop Hunger Now
(MissionNewswire) Close to 300 people each week, the majority under the age of 15, are receiving life-saving medical aid at a Salesian-run center in the city of Bangui in the Central African Republic. The donation was made possible due to an ongoing partnership between Salesian Missions and Stop Hunger Now, an international relief organization that provides food and life‐saving aid to the world’s most vulnerable. Salesian Missions coordinates the overseas transport and in-country distribution, working to ensure vital supplies like these make it into the hands of those in need.
Since violence broke out in December 2012 in the Central African Republic between Séléka rebels and Christian anti-balaka militia groups, thousands have died, more than 650,000 have been internally displaced (with more than 232,000 in the capital city of Bangui alone) and 2.2 million people are in need of humanitarian aid, according to the United Nations.
In December 2013, a new wave of violence broke out in the city of Bangui sending people fleeing from their homes in search of safety and shelter. During the escalation of violence, communities have been raided and homes burned. There have also been reports of brutal attacks on women and children. Salesian missionaries, who were already working in communities in the Central African Republic prior to the outbreak, report that a Salesian center in Galabadja has been host to 20,000 internally displaced people (IDPs) and one in Damala has taken in an estimated 50,000 IDPs. Many displaced victims arrive at the Salesian centers injured and in desperate need of medical attention.
With the influx of so many over a short period of time, resources have been limited. A Salesian partnership with Doctors Without Borders has resulted in a local Salesian center receiving donations of medications and medical supplies to care for those internally displaced. Converting one of the rooms into a small health facility, doctors have been able to treat a variety of aliments in those arriving at the center for the first time and those who have been sheltering there.
Thanks to the Salesian center, Doctors Without Borders has had access to a safe work space, electricity, water and coordination of services, enabling them to carry out much needed emergency and ongoing health services. The donated medical supplies have allowed doctors to treat everything from knife and firearm wounds to contagious illnesses, infections and minor injuries.
“Many lives have been saved because of the work that Doctors Without Borders is doing at the Salesian center and thanks to this donation of critically needed medical supplies,” says Jessica O’Connor, property and logistics officer at the Salesian Missions Office for International Programs. “If people in Bangui did not have the access to medical care at the Salesian center, they would have few other opportunities. The injuries and the infirmities of our beneficiaries could have degenerated until death in many cases.”
Donated medical supplies that were not needed at the Salesian center and were more suited to services in a larger medical setting, were donated to a hospital in the city.
“The partnership with Stop Hunger Now allows Salesian Missions to expand its scope of services to those in need in our programs around the globe,” adds O’Connor. “Stop Hunger Now is one of our favorite partners to work with because they are very flexible. They actively seek out opportunities to enhance shipments with additional donated items that the beneficiaries need, and they go the extra mile to help Salesian Missions meet any additional emergency requests that we receive.”
While the situation at Salesian centers in Bangui remains under control it is precarious and aid, particularly food aid, for those displaced is still needed.
Headquartered in New Rochelle, NY, Salesian Missions—the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco—has launched a donation appeal to aid in the humanitarian assistance for those displaced. Donations are urgently needed to get necessary medical, food and other life-saving supplies to those in Salesian centers. Since missionaries were already working in the affected communities, their response was immediate. As the Salesians continue to provide safety and shelter for displaced families, they are reaching out for support so they may continue to help those in need. To give to the effort, go to www.SalesianMissions.org and select “African Crisis Emergency Fund” on the donate page.
Photo: Juan Carlos Tomasi/MSF
Salesians of Don Bosco, Province of St. Philip the Apostle E-Service Vol. 11, No. 37
March 13, 2014 – Article “Do You Remember Central Africa?”
*Any goods, services, or funds provided by Salesian Missions to programs located in this country were administered in compliance with applicable laws and regulations, including sanctions administered by the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Asset Control.