The Central African Republic is experiencing a major humanitarian crisis. Widespread internal conflict has displaced more than 600,000 people within CAR and forced another 300,000 to live as refugees in neighboring countries. In the capital, Bangui, tens of thousands of people are living in makeshift camps that are prone to flooding. In rural areas, those who have decided to return home are coming back to destroyed homes and market places. CAR’s minority Muslim communities are under siege and many have decided to flee the country.
The international community was unable to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe in CAR. But action can be taken now by the United Nations and major donor governments to stop the crisis from getting worse and assist those who can be reached.
•Donor governments must honor their funding pledges in Central African Republic and provide financing for flexible programing that enables humanitarian agencies to respond to the rapidly changing levels of access to populations in need.
•The United States must re-open its embassy in Bangui to enable staff from the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance to engage more directly and frequently with implementing partners and beneficiaries.
•The United Nations must deploy additional technical staff who can work in-country beyond short-term surge deployments.
•The planned European Union Force in CAR (EUFOR) must urgently deploy police advisors who can both embed with the Africa Union peacekeeping mission (MISCA) and train CAR’s local police.
•The U.S. and European governments must increase their funding and logistical support for MISCA, including providing vehicles and airlift capacity.
•Though the military component of the UN peacekeeping mission in CAR (MINUSCA) will not be established until September 2014, the UN should fast-track the deployment of MINUSCA’s civilian staff, including protection of civilians advisors, human rights officers, and the establishment of a community liaison unit.
Mark Yarnell traveled to the Central African Republic in March 2014 to assess the situation of displaced people in the country.