ICRC: Situation in CAR is 'catastrophic'

March 29, 2013 at 9:37 AM

BANGUI, Central African Republic, March 29 (UPI) -- The situation in the Central African Republic since rebel forces took over the capital has become "catastrophic," the international Red Cross said.

The International Committee of the Red Cross said several days of heavy fighting in Bangui has strained humanitarian and healthcare capacity in the impoverished country. ICRC Dr. Bonaventure Bazirutwabo said on his visit to the capital that local healthcare workers can't cope with the emergency situation.

"The corridors in the Community Hospital of Bangui are overflowing with injured people," he said in a statement. "The situation is catastrophic."

ICRC said Bangui doesn't have reliable electricity or running water. Fuel supplies are running out and hospitals have run out of medical supplies.

Regional Director Georgios Georgantas said there are reports of heavy looting and freedom of movement is increasingly difficult.

The Seleka rebel coalition seized Bangui last week. The U.S. State Department stopped short of describing the overthrow as a coup, however.

A January peace deal ended CAR fighting briefly, though Seleka rebels said the government wasn't honoring the terms of the measure. The U.S. government said both sides are to blame.

President Francois Bozize fled the country to Cameroon and the rebel coalition has installed its own president.

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