Since 2012, conflict has disrupted livelihoods and food security in the Central African Republic (CAR), a landlocked nation of approximately 4.5 million people. Humanitarian access to vulnerable populations is limited, as armed groups have taken de facto control of large parts of northwestern, central and southeastern CAR, despite the presence of UN peacekeeping troops.
Escalating violence since the beginning of 2017 has driven displacement across the country. As of December 2018, the total number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) was approximately 641,000, while nearly 591,000 Central African refugees resided in neighboring countries. One person in every four from CAR is internally displaced or a refugee; two of every five face severe acute food insecurity, according to the UN.
According to the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET) (link is external), vulnerable, conflict-affected populations will continue to face Crisis (IPC 3) or worse levels of food insecurity across CAR through September 2019 due to displacement and inconsistent access and availability of humanitarian assistance.*
In October 2018, an IPC analysis projected nearly 1.9 million people in CAR were facing Crisis and Emergency (IPC 4) levels of acute food insecurity and in need of emergency food assistance.
The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) (link is external) anticipates that more than 38,000 children in CAR younger than 5 years of age will experience severe acute malnutrition (SAM) in 2019.
*The Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) is a standardized tool that aims to classify the severity and magnitude of acute food insecurity. The IPC scale, which is comparable across countries, ranges from Minimal (IPC 1) to Famine (IPC 5).
With support from USAID’s Office of Food for Peace (FFP), the UN World Food Program (WFP) distributes food vouchers and in-kind food assistance sourced from U.S., local and regional stocks to several hundred thousand food-insecure IDPs, vulnerable host community members and returnees affected by conflict and insecurity in CAR. Through FFP contributions, WFP also provides school meals for children from crisis-affected families. In addition, FFP partner ACTED provides cash transfers for food to displaced and host community populations in southeastern CAR.
FFP enables UNICEF to respond to SAM cases in CAR by providing ready-to-use therapeutic food to treat malnourished children, facilitating nutrition assessments and supporting trainings for caregivers and health workers.
FFP also supports emergency food assistance for Central African refugees sheltering in Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Republic of the Congo through ACTED, Samaritan’s Purse and WFP.