Célestine, a young mother from the Central African Republic, is a victim of displacement in the West of the country

Célestine* was a victim of the armed confrontations and attacks which took place in the west of the Central African Republic at the end of December 2014. The young mother, who is originally from Bombo, was forced to flee her village and take refuge in Amada-Gaza, around forty kilometres away. One year after the ordeal, Célestine has agreed to talk to our teams and look back on her experiences so far.

Her house was set on fire and her village was devastated by popular militias. Gripped by panic, Célestine was forced to abandon her home and go into exile with her husband and her eight children. In their rush, they took no clothes or food with them, and they had to travel a long way on foot before reaching Amada-Gaza, a place of transit and safety. Located close to the border with Cameroon, this town has now taken in almost 800 uprooted people, including Célestine and her family.

When they arrived they were completely destitute, like the majority of the other displaced persons there. The villagers of Amada-Gaza showed their solidarity, taking the new arrivals under their wings and welcoming them into their homes for a few weeks. Première Urgence Internationale then stepped in to improve the situation and guarantee satisfactory access to medical care and sanitary facilities for everyone. In particular, teams on the ground built latrines and showers, and handed out emergency kits.

Célestine’s husband quickly got on with building a house to help his family return to a semblance of ordinary life. Now, in this accommodation, which was fitted out by Première Urgence Internationale, the ten members of the household can cook, wash and sleep under their own roof.

The young mother categorically refuses to go back to living in Bombo. Although she remains attached to the village where she grew up, the insecurity which prevails there means that she feels increasingly distant from her roots. She does not want to take any risks for her children, so from now on she is living in Amada-Gaza.

*Name has been changed.

This intervention has been carried out thanks to the UNICEF-financed Rapid Response Mechanism (RRM) and the support of the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department and USAID’s Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance.

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