Francesco’s Story, Central African Republic

My first post for UNHCR was in northern Iraq and since then I have performed in many emergency contexts.

The most rewarding aspect of my work is to be able to implement humanitarian programs. At times, it may also be frustrating, because we don’t always have the resources that are required to resolve problems, but in principle we can make a difference.

There are many incidents that had marked me during all these years. An example is the big emergency in 1994, when I was working as Operations Manager in Bukavu during the Rwandan crisis. There was a very big refugee influx, of an estimated 300,000 people. Thus, we had to start from scratch a very big humanitarian operation, at a time when we didn’t have the technology and the resources that are available now. Among others, though, we were able to stop a cholera epidemic that was threatening to spread from Goma, where some 40,000 refugees had died, to Bukavu. This action helped save many lives.


Francesco Ardisson

Deputy Representative (Protection)

UNHCR’s Representation in the Central African Republic

1 family torn apart by war is too many

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