(New York/Geneva/Bangui, 6 February 2008): John Holmes, the United Nations Under- Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, today made clear his deep concern about the 50,000 Central Africans who have fled into Chad.
'Over the past two months alone, nearly 6,000 Central Africans escaping from violence in northern CAR (Central African Republic) have arrived in southern Chad. These are people who have lost everything. The current crisis in Chad means that they risk being uprooted and displaced again,' said Mr. Holmes.
In 2007, the conflict between the Central African government and armed opposition groups drove thousands of Central Africans to leave their homes in northern CAR and head into Chad. The situation worsened in December and January when the levels of criminality and banditry in the region increased, leaving villages and entire stretches of road linking the two countries abandoned.
Commenting on the consequences of the current clashes in the region, Toby Lanzer, Humanitarian Coordinator, affirmed that: 'the aid community in CAR stands ready to help and protect any civilian, Chadian or Central African, entering CAR as a result of recent violence'. He added: 'the crisis currently touching the Chad - CAR - Sudan nexus is regional and - as usual - civilians will bear the brunt of violence'.
One million people across the north of the Central African Republic have been struck by conflict and criminality. Of these, 197,000 are internally displaced (IDPs). An additional 98,000 Central Africans have fled to neighbouring countries including Cameroon, Chad, and Sudan. As many as 28 non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and United Nations agencies have joined forces to address the humanitarian consequences in CAR. They need $92.6 million for 2008.
For further information, please call: Christina Bennett, OCHA-NY, +1 917 367 8059; Stephanie Bunker, OCHANew York, +1 917 367 5126, mobile +1 917 892 1679; Elisabeth Byrs, OCHA-Geneva, +41 22 917 2653, mobile, +41 79 473 4570; Nancy Snauwaert, OCHA-CAR, +236 75 54 2278 or email@example.com. OCHA press releases are available at http://ochaonline.un.org or www.reliefweb.int.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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