CAR

UNICEF Central African Republic (CAR) Sep 2008 Monthly Report

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Summary

- A $14.8 million grant was given by the African Development Bank to support CAR's Second Economic Development Programme and to help alleviate the country's food crisis.

- A breakaway faction of the UFDR attacks and loots a village near the border with Sudan.

- Polio and Tetanus vaccination campaigns target nearly 1.1 million residents.

- The Common Humanitarian Fund allocates $2.8 million for 16 projects to benefit Central African residents.

- The Steering Committee of the Peace Fund allocates $5.7 million for 11 projects.

- UNICEF convenes a training session with NGOs and the government on family reunification and tracing.

- UNICEF completes a State of Knowledge report on the extent of abuses of children's rights.

- UNICEF rehabilitates schools in anticipation of the new school year.

- 100 wells repaired in Ouham Prefecture.

Humanitarian Overview

Country Summary

The Central African Republic's (CAR) political history since independence from France in 1960 has been marked by brutal dictatorships, unsteady and opportunistic interference from France, revolts and coups.

In recent years, residents of the country's north have become increasingly victimized by armed groups, including rebel factions, gangs of armed bandits and the government army itself. These tensions have resulted in the displacement of more than 300,000 people and the near-complete decimation of the already under-developed infrastructure.

Current figures estimate that of the one million people in CAR affected by conflict, 108,000 have fled into neighbouring Cameroon, Chad and Sudan, and 197,000 are internally displaced. In return, CAR has received thousands of refugees from the neighbouring conflicts in Sudan and Chad.

Landlocked and encircled on three sides by countries in the midst of long-running wars, CAR is suffering from a multi-faceted crisis of ongoing waves of violence coupled with steep poverty. All this is creating a significant negative impact on the lives of women and children.

Bandits, known in CAR as 'Zaraguinas' or 'Coupeurs de Route, frequently disrupt traffic and prevent the delivery of humanitarian aid. Banditry, rather than political conflict or military operations, is now the principal cause of human suffering in CAR. These bandits roam the dangerous northern areas of CAR, assaulting and killing travellers and villagers, kidnapping women and children, looting property and burning homes. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) estimates that up to a third of the 300,000 Central Africans forced from their homes in the past several years fled from bandits.

Despite some modest improvements over the past few years, the situation of children in CAR continues to be of great concern to UNICEF. With an infant mortality rate of 106 per 1,000 and an under-5 mortality rate of 176 per 1,000, the country has some of the continent's worst child survival indicators. An estimated 38% of the country's under-5s suffer from Global Chronic Malnutrition, while a further 10% suffer from Global Acute Malnutrition. In addition, the HIV prevalence (6.2%) is the highest in the region. More than 75% of the population is without access to adequate sanitation facilities, which means that preventable diseases are easily spread.

UNICEF works closely with its partners to improve these indicators and enhance human welfare.