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Central African Republic: Humanitarian Coordinator calls for more international support to humanitarian crisis as he welcomes Pope Francis’ visit to displacement sites

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(Bangui, 27 November 2015): The Humanitarian Coordinator, Aurélien A. Agbénonci, calls for more support to the Central African Republic as he warns the emergency is rapidly becoming another forgotten humanitarian crisis; as thousands of people are still displaced inside and outside the country. He also welcomes Pope Francis’ scheduled visit to sites for internally displaced people (IDPs) during his three-day visit; aimed at promoting reconciliation in the country.

More than half of the population consisting of 2.3 million people is in dire need of urgent humanitarian assistance nearly three years after the outbreak of violence in the country. The humanitarian appeal remains dramatically underfunded, with funding levels of only 48.6 per cent. Since January 2015, the Strategic Response Plan (SRP) has received US$297.8 million. While aid agencies continue to face severe access constraints in their operations; they now have serious funding problems too. "The current funding does not enable us to ensure the protection of displaced persons or to provide the minimum of what is needed to meet the huge humanitarian needs. If we do not take action to increase aid efforts, the situation in the country could become one of the largest humanitarian crises of our time. We can no longer allow the millions of Central African people to suffer in silence. We still have time to act that is why we are calling on international donors to look at CAR and act accordingly,” Mr. Agbénonci said.

More than 447,000 people are still displaced across the country, including 58,000 in Bangui, fearing violence and human rights violations. Over 452,000 people have fled to neighboring countries including 254,115 in Cameroon, 66,382 in Chad, 101,866 in DRC and 29,884 in Congo. “Conflict has devastated hundreds of thousands of people, trapping them in conflict areas and denying them access to basic provisions and healthcare. Many live in fear on displacement sites or in the bush, children can’t go to school and parents can’t go out to work. The humanitarian situation is becoming protracted.

Enough funds will help us to provide the relief required. CAR is a difficult and dangerous place to work but the humanitarian community remains committed to helping the most vulnerable people caught in the crisis,” Mr. Agbénonci added.

“I appreciate Pope Francis’ planned visit to affected communities without distinction of beliefs or origin in the country; to bring a message of interfaith dialogue, human rights and peace which could really rebuild social cohesion,” Mr. Agbénonci added.

Despite relative calm since January 2015, the capital Bangui has been severely affected by violence since 26 September, when armed clashes left at least 90 people dead and forced more than 40,000 people to flee to safer areas. This new spiral of violence caused additional humanitarian needs and the increasing insecurity is rendering the work of humanitarian actors more challenging.

For further information please contact:

OCHA CAR: Gemma Cortes, Head Public Information Office, +236 70087565, cortesg@un.org

Laura Fultang, Public Information Officer, +236 70007579, fultangl@un.org

OCHA press releases are available at http://ochaonline.un.org or www.reliefweb.int

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.