Q&A: Networking with communities and armed groups in CAR's humanitarian response

Patricia Danzi, regional director for Africa at the International Committee of the Red Cross. Photo by: Birom Seck / ICRC

NAIROBI — The deteriorating humanitarian crisis in the Central African Republic remains a challenging operating environment for the humanitarian sector, as aid workers navigate violent clashes between armed groups and targeted attacks against populations.

The conflict is estimated to have pushed one-fifth of the nation’s population of 5 million people from their homes, which is the highest level of displacement since the crisis started in 2013.  

According to a report published last year by Oxfam, 28 percent of security incidents recorded in the country involved humanitarians. This includes attacks, threats, and theft, which has limited or downsized the humanitarian response in many parts of CAR.

Security risks push humanitarians out of Central African Republic, even as need grows

Escalating violence has left 11 aid workers dead so far this year and pushed relief organizations out of remote areas. More than half to the population now needs aid, with major concerns about malnutrition, acute disease, and growing displacement.

Devex spoke with Patricia Danzi, the International Committee of the Red Cross’s regional director for Africa, about the ICRC’s strategies to deliver aid under such conditions, as well as how it works to ensure the safety of its staff. One of the ICRC’s staff members was recently killed in CAR when one of the organization’s convoys that was delivering aid was attacked.

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About the author

  • Headshot sarajerving

    Sara Jerving

    Sara Jerving is Devex's East Africa Correspondent based in Nairobi. She is a reporter and producer, whose work has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, Vice News, Bloomberg Businessweek, The Nation magazine, among others. Sara holds a master's degree in business and economic reporting from Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism where she was a Lorana Sullivan fellow.