Displaced People in Bangui Sites “Most Vulnerable”: IOM CAR Intention Return Survey

By International Office of Migration (IOM)
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GENEVA, Switzerland, July 18, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- IOM's 6th return intention survey of internally displaced people (IDPs) in Bangui, Central African Republic indicates a continuing decrease in the number of people intending to return home and a continuing struggle to meet daily needs.

The return intention survey was based on interviews with 601 IDPs carried out at 31 displacement sites from 17-19 June. The survey has been conducted on a monthly basis since January 2014 to track the needs and return intentions of IDPs in Bangui.

Compared with the previous survey, IDPs indicated that in order to return home, their needs would remain in almost the same order. Security is the highest priority (33 per cent), followed by housing (31 per cent) and non-food aid items (13 per cent).

Just over half (56 per cent) indicated an intention to return home within the next four weeks. This figure has been decreasing since the January survey when 74 per cent of IDPs indicated an intention to return within a month.

The number of IDPs who wanted to stay at their displacement site increased from 27 per cent in May to 36 per cent in June. This is a significant increase from February, when only 19 per cent wanted to stay at their site.

In December, soon after the violence that displaced people across Bangui, there were more than 390,000 IDPs in the city. Since that time the IDP population, despite fluctuations, has been gradually decreasing.

Over 70 per cent of IDPs in Bangui have now left and there are currently 105,300 IDPs at some 43 sites in the city. In June the IDP figure was just over 117,300. Overall IDP figures countrywide are now estimated at 535,000.

IDP return rates have slowed in the last few months and those remaining at the sites are the most vulnerable. The most frequently cited reason for not returning home was that all their belongings had been stolen (74 per cent). “Lack of authorities” (68 per cent) was the second most frequently cited reason – up from 58 per cent in the May survey. Additional reasons included lack of financial means to return (66 per cent) and not feeling safe in their area of origin (66 per cent).

Food continues to be a critical issue: 97 per cent of IDPs reported a reduction in the number of meals consumed per day, 97 per cent a reduction in family members' food consumption and 89 per cent a reduction in adults' food consumption to be able to feed children. Some 92 per cent had experienced interruption of livelihood generating activities due to displacement.

The Return Intention Survey is part of IOM's Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM), which is designed to monitor population movements and inform the humanitarian response to crises.

To access the CAR IDP Return Intention Surveys, please visit: http://carresponse.iom.int/.