CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC
WORSENING SITUATION IN BAMBARI
Humanitarian partners fear that recurring clashes between factions in towns neighbouring Bambari in the country’s centre could spill over to the city, triggering a renewed humanitarian crisis. Flaring up since November 2016, violence between armed groups has reached the town of Ippy, on the road to Bambari. As a result, many families living in villages along the Bria – Ippy – Bambari axis have fled the area. Security measures have also been stepped up.
Resumption of the conflict in Bambari could trigger large scale displacements, as the town is home to 160,000 people and 45,000 IDPs.
21 CASES OF ‘SPOTTED FEVER’ IN THE FAR NORTH
The Ministry of Health reported two new cases of ‘spotted fever’ of unknown origin in the Far North region. A total of 21 cases and nine deaths among infants between 5 and 24 months have been recorded since January 2016. Experts suspect the fever to be a type of ‘monkey pox’, but await the upcoming results of laboratory tests. On 18 February, a rapid investigation team from the Ministry of Health comprised of epidemiological surveillance experts was deployed to the region.
CASES OF AVIAN INFLUENZA REPORTED
In early 2017, tests of ducks in a farm in the southern town of Bassam proved positive to virus H5N1. Other outbreaks have been identified since in Bouaké, in the centre, in the capital Abidjan, and in Agnibilékro, in the east. Over 72,000 poultry have been slaughtered and a 12-month response plan is ongoing. About 150 farmers have received a financial compensation but a strong indemnity programme is required to encourage farmers to report suspected cases. The Food and Agriculture organization has reinforced its team on the ground to support the Government.
BOKO HARAM ATTACK TARGETS IDP CAMP
On 16 February, suspected Boko Haram assailants launched a major attack using guns and explosives targeting a site that hosts more than 9,000 IDPs, and the ‘Muna Garage’ area, which serves as assembly point for aid convoys to be escorted out of Maiduguri. The number of civilian casualties remains unknown. Security agents from a nearby checkpoint reportedly repelled the attack in a gunfight that lasted hours. ‘Muna Garage’ has been a flashpoint of attacks in recent months.
ARMYWORMS’ COULD SPREAD TO WEST AND CENTRAL AFRICA
On 16 February, the UN warned that the invasion of ‘armyworms’ which already destroys cereal plantations in several Southern African countries, could quickly spread, threatening food security and trade. West Africa is on display, as the first specimens of this larva were spotted last year in Nigeria and Togo. Some experts suspect that they have crossed the Atlantic with air imports from South American plants, adding that it is probably only a matter of time before most of the region is affected.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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