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Central African Republic Situation: UNHCR External Regional Update 16, 16-22 May 2014

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HIGHLIGHTS

 On 23 May, UNHCR has issued a renewed plea for funds to assist the growing number of refugees from the Central African Republic arriving malnourished and ill after walking and hiding in the bush for weeks before reaching the border. Nearly 40% of refugee children crossing into Cameroon already suffer from severe malnutrition. UNHCR has been working with UNICEF, the World Food Program and five medical aid agencies to curb malnutrition and death among the refugees; this includes ongoing food distribution, therapeutic feeding, vaccination campaigns, provision of clean water and sanitation as well as shelter.

 On 22 May, the situation in Bambari, Central African Republic escalated with heavy clashes reported for several hours between the French Sangaris forces and ex-Seleka. A reported 1,500 people have sought refuge in the Evêché site.

 On 20 May 2014, the Protection Cluster in the Central African Republic reported that some 21,021 individuals are trapped in 11 locations.

Operational Context

 Central African Republic: Security incidents impacted humanitarian access to the vulnerable population in the prefectures of Nana-Mambéré, Ouham Pendé, Ouham and Nana-Gribizi.

 Security incidents in Nana-Bakassa, Bode, Boway and Markounda, leading to the displacement of hundreds of people in Bossangoa (Ouham prefecture). As of 20 May, UNHCR had verified a total of 745 displaced persons (representing 347 households) originating from Nana-Bakassa, Bode, Boway and Markounda and assessed their needs. UNHCR will pursue the verification in other villages during the next week.

 Cameroon: The security situation remains unstable in the East region where the majority of refugees are located. Infiltrations of the anti-Balaka into Cameroon were reported, and local authorities have asked UNHCR to expedite the transfer of refugees from the border entry points of Kentzou and Gbiti in order to allow them undertake search operations in the area. Transfer of refugees from Kentzou to Lolo site, and from Gbiti to Mbilé continued. Arrival rates have decreased since the anti-Balaka blocked the main route leading to Cameroon. Refugees that have managed to cross reported that many of their family members are trapped in the bush of the Central African Republic. In Gbiti and Kentzou there are more than 33,000 refugees to be transferred.