More than 100 lorries transporting humanitarian aid to the most isolated villages
Since January 2016, Handicap International runs a logistics platform to help humanitarian organisations reach the most vulnerable people in the Central African Republic. Despite challenging conditions, Handicap International’s lorries continue to deliver humanitarian aid to the most isolated areas of the country. Cyril Chérie, Handicap International’s logistics project manager in Bangui, tells us more.
Truck hired by Handicap International to distribute essential goods to their final destination in the Central African Republic | (c) Handicap International
Could you describe the system put in place by Handicap International in the Central African Republic?
We rehabilitated 13 airstrips throughout the country, we hired road hauliers and set up transit hubs to help humanitarian actors (ndlr: ONGs, United Nations) prepare the transportation of essential items to the most deprived populations and villages.
In practical terms, Handicap International works with 98 road hauliers and manages a fleet of 114 lorries to cover a network of more than 3,000 kilometres of roads. We currently supply 29 major towns in 14 provinces of the Central African Republic. In a country where roads are, in fact, dirt tracks, this platform is an effective way to help distributing humanitarian aid. It enables thousands of deprived people to benefit from considerable support. For some communities deprived of aid since the start of the crisis, it makes a big difference.
What problems do the hauliers encounter?
Depending on the season, road transport conditions are extremely difficult. Some villages can only be reached quickly by air… but the most important part of the aid is transported by lorries along tracks that have not been maintained in years.
Apart from the poor state of the roads, our hauliers contend with an extremely unstable security situation to ensure aid effectively reaches beneficiaries.
After more than eight months in operation, what has been the impact of Handicap International’s logistics platform?
Twenty-three partner organisations have benefitted from our road transport expertise. We have delivered 3,676 tonnes of aid for them over more than 100,000 kilometres of road – that’s two and a half times the distance around the world!
Beyond simple figures, the logistics platform is made available to humanitarian organisations so that they can reach previously inaccessible areas.
The service enables them to save time since they no longer need to arrange the transport of their humanitarian aid. This platform project allows organisations to pool their expenses and make savings. That means they can invest more resources to assist the people worst affected by the current crisis.
Handicap International logistics platform in the Central African Republic is supported by the United Nations’ Central Emergency Response Fund, the Common Humanitarian Fund of the United Nations’ Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the United Nations’ Humanitarian Air Service, and the Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance of the United States’ Agency for International Development.