Any views expressed in this article are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters Foundation.
Though tensions in Bangui have diminished somewhat, the fighting goes on. On Saturday, for example, there were several clashes between armed groups, and pillaging continued. "Civilians must not be targeted," said Georgios Georgantas, head of the ICRC delegation in Bangui. "This means the general civilian population, of course, but specifically includes medical personnel and the facilities in which they work. It also includes humanitarian workers and their vehicles when they go out to rescue wounded people and gather the dead."
An ICRC anaesthesiologist and a hospital staff member discuss preparations for the operating theatre. ©ICRC
Since Friday, about 60 wound-victims have been brought to the Community Hospital, Bangui's main medical facility. There surgical teams from the ICRC and MÃ©decins sans frontiÃ¨res have been working continuously in recent days. "A four-person ICRC surgical team has been hard at work here since 4 January," explained Bonaventure Bazirutwabo, the ICRC's medical coordinator there. "Our main challenge is dealing with a major influx into a hospital, many â though not all â of whose staff have fled." This is the first ICRC surgical team to have worked in Bangui.
ICRC staff have been travelling the streets of the city and, for their part since Friday, have brought six wounded people and nine seriously ill people to the Community Hospital and other medical facilities. Meanwhile, Central African Red Cross volunteers have, in the same period, collected 10 bodies and administered first aid to many injured people.
For more information, please contact:Nadia Dibsy, ICRC Bangui, tel: +236 75 64 30 07David-Pierre Marquet, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 79 536 92 48