Since late October, large parts of the Central African Republic (CAR) have been affected by exceptionally heavy rains causing the Oubangui river to overflow on about 600 km of shoreline. The capital Bangui and numerous riverside communities in the prefectures of Lobaye, Ombella-Mpoko, Ouaka and Mbomou have been particularly affected. The overflowing of smaller rivers across the country has also caused damage. According to preliminary estimates by OCHA at the end of October, at least 56,000 people have been affected and more than 10,000 houses have been flooded. UNICEF participated in the initial assessment and response efforts.
UNICEF co-led round 2 of the polio (cVDPV2) outbreak response, held in 21 health districts (out of the country’s 35) on 4-6 October. According to the Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP), 826,149 children aged 6-59 months were vaccinated out of a target of 827,011
In October, 16,698 conflict-affected children (including 7,462 girls) were newly enrolled in UNICEF-supported child friendly spaces in the Basse-Kotto, Ouaka,
Funding Overview and Partnerships
In October, UNICEF CAR received funding from the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID), which will be used to scale-up the WASH flood response, to support the UNICEF-led Inter-Agency Collective Services for Community Engagement and Accountability as well as the Rapid Response Mechanism. A contribution from the Spanish National Committee for UNICEF was also received to support the treatment of children suffering from Severe Acute Malnutrition. Despite support from donors received since the start of the year, UNICEF CAR continues to face major funding gaps in some sectors to support the humanitarian response to the country’s persisting crisis.
Situation Overview & Humanitarian Needs
Since late October, large parts of CAR have been affected by exceptionally heavy rains falling late in the season, causing the Oubangui river to overflow on about 600 km of shoreline marking the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The capital Bangui and dozens of riverside communities in the prefectures of Lobaye, Ombella-Mpoko, Ouaka and Mbomou have been particularly affected. The overflowing of smaller rivers across the country has also caused damage. According to preliminary estimates by OCHA at the end of October, at least 56,000 people have been affected and more than 10,000 houses have been flooded. In Bangui and its Western suburb Bimbo alone, 3,000 houses have already been flooded, together with more than 1,000 wells and as many latrines. About 13,000 people (half of them children) have fled their homes to seek refuge in over 20 informal settlements across Bangui and Bimbo. The number of people accommodated by host families is still unknown. Preliminary assessments on the sites show acute needs in shelter, NFI, water, sanitation, food and child protection. The Ministry of Humanitarian Action and National Reconciliation is coordinating the response for the Bangui area, with active UNICEF participation. UNICEF’s Rapid Response Mechanism and other actors are also conducting multi-sector assessments in affected areas outside of the capital, where the extent of the damage is not yet fully known. At the end of October, the level of the Oubangui was still rising. Meanwhile, the polio epidemic declared on 29 May is still ongoing, and UNICEF co-led round 2 of the vaccination response campaign on 4-6 October, reaching 826,149 children. On 26 October, a new vaccine-derived case of polio (cVDPV2) was confirmed in Berberati (Mambere-Kadei, Southwest), an area not covered by the ongoing response.
Extension of the response to the Southwest is ongoing, and a round 0 campaign targeting over 163,000 children under 5 is planned for mid-November.
Finally, October was marked by the continuing resurgence or armed group activity in Ouaka (Center), Haute-Kotto (Center) and Nana-Mambere (West). Most notably in terms of humanitarian consequences, clashes between armed groups in Am Dafok on 14 October (Vakaga, Northeast), led about 7,000 people to seek refuge in South Darfur, according to humanitarian sources in Sudan.