GENEVA, Switzerland, February 14, 2014 – IOM has distributed 560 non-food relief item kits at Bangui’s Military Airport Transit Site to help some of the over 3,000 stranded third country nationals and internally displaced persons (IDPs) sheltering at the site.
The kits, donated by UNHCR, included blankets, mats, mosquito nets, soap, kitchen sets and jerry cans.
IOM, which is managing the site at the request of the Camp Coordination and Camp Management (CCCM) Humanitarian Cluster, is also organizing “wet feeding” for site residents.
Beans, super cereal plus, oil, salt, and sugar provided by WFP and ICRC are distributed to volunteers who cook and serve food to the entire community.
The site is one of the few relatively safe locations in Bangui for stranded migrants and internally displaced Muslims fearing attacks from armed “anti-balaka” Christian groups. Previously a transit center, it is now increasingly becoming a longer-term site.
Most of the stranded migrants need help from IOM or their governments to return to their countries of origin. Since early January, IOM has evacuated 5,401 migrants by air. But funding for evacuation charter flights is now exhausted.
The population is also growing daily as humanitarian organizations refer terrified Muslims in search of shelter and safety to the site.
IOM operates a mobile clinic at the site and Doctors Without Borders (MSF) and Emergency International are also providing medical services. Many of the population prefer to stay at the site, fearing attacks if they leave to go to the hospital.
Meanwhile IOM’s team of 42 site facilitators continue to regularly visit over 60 IDP sites in Bangui to gather information on the situation and needs of other IDPs. IOM alerts humanitarian partners of gaps in service provision and refers cases of gender-based violence and unaccompanied minors to appropriate agencies. The main needs identified continue to be provision of food and non-food aid, and visits by mobile clinics.
IOM is seeking funding to help migrants and IDPs at the Military Airport Transit Site and other IDP sites in Bangui, and to continue evacuations of Third Country Nationals. It has appealed for USD 17.5 million, but has only received USD 2.8 million to date. Of the USD 17.5 million, USD 10 million will go towards evacuations and USD 7.5 million towards helping migrants and IDPs in the camps.