In Central African Republic, the Logistics Cluster facilitates access to common road transport services provided by Handicap International. In 2017, Handicap International coordinated 279 convoys and transported 8,240 mt of critical cargo on behalf of the humanitarian community. Andrea Trevisan, Country Director for Handicap International in CAR, speaks about the challenges faced in implementing a common service and looks into prospective developments for the organisation which recently rebranded as Humanity & Inclusion.
How did HI become the main provider of humanitarian road transport in CAR?
“It all started in late 2015 when HI was the Logistics Cluster co-facilitator. At that time, we started to organise small-scaled emergency transports from the capital, particularly to support the humanitarian response during the Bangui crisis in September 2015. The service was later expanded to respond to the growing needs of the humanitarian community and to ensure a prompt response.
Today, HI offers road transport services from three platforms: the capital, Bangui, Bambari in the east, and Bossangoa in the west. We also developed a shunting service from warehouses to the airport in Bangui to support air deliveries by WFP and deployed mobile teams to carry out airstrip rehabilitation in collaboration with UNHAS. In other words we are trying an holistic approach in addressing the transport constraints in a country with very limited infrastructure.”
What are the main challenges operating in CAR?
“Security is the main constraint in CAR. It is particularly challenging to operate in an insecure environment especially when you are entrusted with life-saving cargo of other organisations.
Also, we face unpredictable movements of population and sudden medical emergencies, which exacerbate the need for pre-positioning and other preparedness measures to enable humanitarian actors to intervene quickly wherever it is needed.
In this context, and given the limited funding, common logistics services are essential. Working as one through the Logistics Cluster is the best way to achieve tangible results efficiently and effectively.”
What is the way forward for Humanity & Inclusion in CAR ?
“In the short term, the plan is to develop HI road transport network in the most difficult-to-reach areas. We recently opened a new platform in Bossangoa that allows us to access Paoua, where the security situation has deteriorated.
In the mid-term we want to reinforce common services by establishing a logistics platform to receive, consolidate and store the cargo we transport. We aim at involving more partners through the Logistics Cluster and leverage capacities.
HI’s new name is the key to the 2025 strategy, as we will focus on working closely with the people in need, to ensure understanding and approval of our mandate and activities.“