Major food crisis threatens 45,000 in north-eastern Central African Republic (CAR)
(Bangui / Geneva, 13 June 2012): A rapid assessment by non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in north-eastern CAR has revealed that over 45,000 people face a major food crisis and need immediate assistance in the towns of Tiringoulou, Sikikédé, Gordil Ndiffa and Mélé in the western region of Vakaga prefecture. ”We are facing a critical humanitarian crisis that could worsen quickly and lead to the loss of many lives.
I urge the international community to provide funding for immediate life-saving assistance. The people of the Vakaga prefecture need our help now and we must not fail them,” said Dr. Zakaria Maiga, acting United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator in CAR.
The International Medical Corps’ nutritional screening of 1,332 children in Sikikédé (30 per cent of the children in the village) revealed that 21 per cent of the children are suffering from global acute malnutrition (GAM). Seven per cent were diagnosed with severe acute malnutrition (SAM) which is three times the emergency threshold of 2 per cent. In addition, six cases of measles, and one death, have been confirmed. The disease is rapidly spreading among young children. “It is time for action. We have to provide urgent humanitarian assistance, or we will see a steady increase in deaths. The Government and humanitarian partners have to scale up assistance in order to address this crisis effectively. Funding is crucial to ensure that prompt and timely assistance is provided,” said Dr. Christian Mulamba, IMC Country Director in the CAR.
In 2011, access to the region was hindered by recurrent conflicts between two rebel groups, the Convention des Patriotes pour la Justice (CPJP) and the Union des Forces Démocratiques pour le Rassemblement (UFDR), which led to large-scale population displacement. Now that peace has been restored in the region, over 10,000 people have returned. They lack basic supplies and potable water and have lost their livelihoods due to the conflict. They need urgent humanitarian assistance.
The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) is facilitating discussions with humanitarian partners. Despite logistical constraints due to poor infrastructure and the onset of the rainy season, a response is underway. Some 4,558 children have already received measles vaccinations while the severely malnourished children are receiving Plumpy'nut, which is ready-to-use therapeutic food. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is preparing to provide non-food items to 350 families, rehabilitate six water points and chlorinate 15 wells in Sikikédé. The international NGO Triangle Génération Humanitaire (TGH) has distributed seeds while preparations are underway for the transportation and distribution of food aid. Humanitarian partners are currently preparing a project proposal that will be submitted to the United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF).
To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit http://unocha.org/.