Central African Republic 'abandoned' after coup: MSF report

An indifferent international community has abandoned a Central African Republic racked by humanitarian emergency three months after Seleka rebel forces took power, a medical organization said Tuesday.

Doctors Without Borders, or Medecins Sans Frontieres, said in its report that the country's health care system has totally collapsed while most non-governmental and humanitarian organizations have fled the country, citing security concerns.

“The health system cannot be said to be functioning, as there is a chronic lack of facilities, skilled medical staff, diagnostic and treatment tools, medicines and supplies. To all intents and purposes it is a phantom system,” said Jane-Ann McKenna, former MSF project coordinator in northern CAR.

“Even before the coup the country was in crisis, with mortality rates well above the emergency threshold in several regions,” McKenna added. 

Seleka leader Michel Djotodia, who seized power in March, ousting President Francois Bozize, has said CAR will hold elections after an 18-month transition period. During that time hospitals and health care centers have been robbed and ransacked, MSF said.

As a result, many NGOs fled CAR, and now malnutrition and preventable diseases are widespread. For example, 33 percent more malaria cases have been reported this year, the report claims.

"We are facing one of the worst years in terms of the impact of the disease," said Ellen van der Velden, MSF's mission chief in CAR.

MSF has called on the United Nations, the international community and the CAR government to support the urgent needs of a fragile country and its population.