CAR + 4 more

UNHCR Central African Republic Situational Emergency Update - 22 February 2021

Situation Report
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Over 109,000 persons have fled CAR due to the ongoing conflict (estimates from host governments as of 16 February 2021), the majority across the southern border to the Democratic Republic of Congo.

To improve refugee access to potable water, sanitation facilities or food of refugees in DRC,
UNHCR is rolling out a plan to relocate approximately 35,000 new arrivals from border areas to four localities inland in three provinces.

UNHCR identified Eight COVID-19 cases among new arrivals and an additional 35 confirmed cases among refugees already in Cameroon, confirming the reality of the contamination risk amid this new influx.

Operational Context

Political and security situation in Central African Republic

  • The conflict surrounding the 27 December 2020 elections in the Central African Republic (CAR) continues to take a heavy toll on civilians, facjed the combined effect of widespread violence and insufficient assistance.

  • As of 19 February 2021, local authorities in neighbouring countries reported the arrival of over 109,000 individuals who have fled from the Central African Republic (CAR) due to violence surrounding the 27 December 2020 elections. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), 92,053 persons reportedly sought safety), while 6,116 went to Cameroon, 7,406 to Chad, and 4,331 to the Republic of Congo. According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), some 100,000 persons are still internally displaced within CAR as a direct result of the post-electoral violence and the ongoing tensions.

  • Despite a decrease in the number of attacks since the first half of January, the security situation remains volatile sparing only few regions and hampering humanitarian access to the affected population. The instability violence persisting across large parts of the country, particularly the west along the Cameroon border, the center and south-east. Reports of grave human rights violations and abuses continue to be received by humanitarian actors within CAR and in the asylum countries, in particular DRC where newly arrived refugees reported severe sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV), a longstanding protection issue in CAR.

  • While a new convoy of humanitarian and commercial supplies reached Bangui this week, the ongoing insecurity is still causing a major disruption in the main supply road into CAR, delaying the timely delivery of essential aid to affected populations and causing a steady rise in the price of staple foods since December 2020. Adding to the negative socio-economic impact of the COVID-19, this new crisis is further aggravating food insecurity in a country already affected by a high prevalence of acute malnutrition.

  • As political tensions remain high, further displacement is expected, and humanitarian needs are likely to grow. In this volatile context, UNHCR and its partners continue to scale up their response to provide emergency assistance to the displaced and other affected populations, while facing a chronic lack of funding for one the most neglected crises in the world.