Thanks to fundraisers and donors supporting its appeal to airlift food to Bangui (https://www.aegistrust.org/donate/), the Aegis Trust has today flown its first delivery of food into the besieged capital of the Central African Republic. Home to some 900,000 people, Bangui is larger than Amsterdam, Jerusalem or San Francisco – and has been cut off by rebels from resupply by road since January.
How the food will be distributed
The wheat flour delivered today is being taken to a secure location in central Bangui. From there, it will be distributed through grassroots groups associated with the inter-religious platform run by the Central African Republic’s faith leaders, with whom the Aegis Trust has been working since 2014 to help build peace in the country.
“By paying for the cargo flight we are providing partners and traders in Bangui with affordable food, keeping markets supplied,” says Freddy Mutanguha, the Aegis Trust’s Executive Director. “This can help stabilize food prices, support local businesses and prevent aid dependency, while at the same time preventing starvation, building peace, and saving lives.”
“You cannot imagine the impact”
Recipients will include women’s associations from Catholic, Protestant and Muslim communities who will then be able to trade the food at affordable prices in the market, maintaining livelihoods and feeding their families. Some of the food will also be given away freely to the most destitute.
“The airlift coming in is very, very good news,” says Alain Lazaret, the Aegis Trust’s representative in Bangui. “It’s a relief. A big one. You cannot imagine the impact. You may not know what this means for us, but it is a big, big relief.”
Heartfelt gratitude for donors
To donors helping fund the airlift – including the Srebrenica Memorial and its supporters in Bosnia, many of whom know what it means to live through the hunger of a siege – Alain had this to say: “May God bless you, and may you receive through my voice the gratitude of the Central African people. It’s a message of heartfelt gratitude, because we were not expecting friends outside, who we have never seen, to step in and come to our rescue. By sending in food, you have not only saved lives, but you have given opportunities for young people who were thinking of joining the militia to step back because now they will have something to eat.”
The Aegis Trust is continuing to raise funds to send further food shipments to Bangui by air as the siege continues. To donate to the appeal, or to fundraise for it, visit https://www.aegistrust.org/donate/