In the Central African Republic, persistent armed conflict and annual flooding have caused mass internal displacement and food insecurity. As humanitarian access remains limited, Humanity & Inclusion is delivering goods to isolated areas by boat.
An estimated 1.4 million people—representing almost one-third of the country’s entire population—have been displaced by ongoing conflict. Over 2 million people are facing severe food insecurity due to a lack of safety, which is only expected to worsen in the lean season when less food is produced. Under constant threat of danger, civilians are forced to go without basic needs such as food, medicine and hygiene items to avoid risking their lives.
‘Access is one of our greatest concerns’
“A massive humanitarian crisis is growing and we have to prepare for it,” says Yamina Issad, Humanity & Inclusion’s operations officer for the Central African Republic. “As soon as conflict arises, all humanitarian access is completely blocked. There is only one route that connects Bambari to Bangasou, and it is now inaccessible. This isolates the population in those areas and worsens the hardships people are already experiencing. Right now, access is one of our greatest concerns.”
To overcome inaccessibility by road, Humanity & Inclusion has begun shipping goods such as fuel, building materials, oil and essential non-food items by boat along high-water rivers during the rainy season.
“Access to communities along the river is particularly difficult by road,” explains Damien Volland, Humanity & Inclusion’s head of logistics and transport. “There is a lack of security and damaged infrastructure, which is accentuated during the rainy season. But, when the water is high, boats are easier to navigate. Transport by boat on the Oubangui River allows us to bypass these obstacles and reach more populations in need of humanitarian assistance.”
Delivering tons of aid
For years, local organizations have used boats to transport goods during rainy season, but the method is rarely used among international NGOs. Humanity & Inclusion’s logistics team is able to deliver between 50 and 60 tons of humanitarian goods per boat for partner organizations such as Solidarités International, ACTED and Action Against Hunger to reach people in some of the most isolated parts of the country.