In January 2012, people in north-central CAR were massively displaced due to a joint military offensive between the armed forces of Chad and the Central African Republic (CAR) against Chad's Front Populaire pour le Redressement rebel movement. The same area also saw conflict between farmer and pastoralist communities. In the south-east, regional military operations against the Lord’s Resistance Army resulted in more people fleeing their homes.
Thousands of IDPs in the north and north-east were able to return due to a peace agreement between the Government and the Convention of Patriots for Justice and Peace rebel group, and the completion of the disarmament and demobilization of the People's Army for the Restoration of Democracy rebel movement. However, hostilities flared between Government forces and the Seleka coalition in December 2012, causing significant damage and displacement.
By the end of the year, almost 100,000 people were displaced, over 50,000 of whom were internally displaced people (IDPs) and almost 50,000 were returnees (IDPs and refugees). Minimal access to basic social services and frequent natural disasters added to humanitarian needs.
In 2012, OCHA supported the humanitarian response by coordinating and facilitating multi-sectoral needs assessments in Vakaga in the north-east and supporting humanitarian efforts in the Batangafo-Kabo-Ouandago triangle. In the south-east, OCHA provided civil-military coordination support. Through its new sub-office in Zémio, OCHA helped to monitor and coordinate humanitarian activities.
OCHA worked with UNDP to set up a joint planning unit to improve the management of the CAR Common Humanitarian Fund (CHF), and it conducted an assessment mission in the south-east to monitor CHF-funded projects.
To improve information sharing among humanitarian and development partners, OCHA overhauled the CAR Humanitarian and Development Partnership Team website. It also improved accessibility to important documents and relevant information for different sectors.
The new acting Humanitarian Coordinator (HC) in July 2012 strengthened advocacy efforts on humanitarian access and helped to mobilize resources for humanitarian action in the country. OCHA supported the HC in discussions with the Government aimed at reviewing proposed legislation that would result in increased taxes, staffing restrictions and excessive control, severely restricting NGOs’ ability to operate effectively.
Continuing insecurity due to unidentified armed groups has greatly affected humanitarian work in the field. The escalation of fighting in the north-east/central, for example, led to the relocation of OCHA staff from the field to the capital, Bangui. UN and NGO compounds were also looted and destroyed when an armed rebellion took control over much of the north and central regions of CAR in December 2012.