(Bangui/Geneva, 28 March 2013): The crisis in the Central African Republic, including the seizure of power by the Seleka coalition on 24 March, has exacerbated an already difficult humanitarian situation. Since December 2012 an estimated 173,000 people have been displaced within the country, while more than 32,000 Central Africans have fled to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Cameroon and Chad.
The volatile security situation is hampering humanitarian efforts to provide medical care and other assistance. Many people injured during the latest fighting have been brought to hospitals around the capital Bangui, but medical facilities are finding it difficult to cope with the influx and the lack of electricity makes it extremely difficult to provide care. Schools in Bangui have also been closed this week.
“The protection of civilians is of the utmost importance,” said the acting Humanitarian Coordinator, Dr. Zakaria Maiga. “I call on all parties to provide security for the people of Bangui and everywhere in the country, to refrain from further escalation of violence, and to respect international humanitarian and human rights law.”
“There has been widespread looting in Bangui in the past few days and first-aid responders in medical facilities urgently need to deliver medicine and provide aid to people affected by violence,” added Dr. Maiga. “We are doing everything possible to step up humanitarian operations throughout the country and need safe access to people in need.”
The humanitarian consequences of the recent crisis are particularly worrying in the north and centre of the country. More than 80,000 people are estimated to be at risk of severe food shortages during the upcoming lean season, while 13,500 children under the age of 5 are at risk of Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM). Schools are not functioning and at least 166,000 children have no access to education.
On 18 March, the United Nations and the authorities in Bangui asked donors for US$129 million to fund the 2013 humanitarian appeal for the Central African Republic. The humanitarian response plan is now being revised to take into account the additional needs generated by the latest crisis.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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