CAR: Working to avert a humanitarian catastrophe

27 December, 2013
December 2013, Bangui, CAR: A displaced family in a camp close to the international airport in Bangui, the capital of the Central African Republic. Nearly 800,000 people have fled their homes since early December as a result of fighting. Credit: OCHA
December 2013, Bangui, CAR: A displaced family in a camp close to the international airport in Bangui, the capital of the Central African Republic. Nearly 800,000 people have fled their homes since early December as a result of fighting. Credit: OCHA

UN agencies and humanitarian partners today appealed for $152 million to help meet the immediate needs of people affected by the ongoing violence in the Central African Republic (CAR).

Since the start of the violence in early December, nearly 800,000 people have fled their homes seeking greater protection from the fighting and about half of them have sought refuge in makeshift camps in the capital, Bangui. Nearly 48 per cent of the population desperately needs humanitarian assistance.

"Hundreds of thousands of people in CAR are today in a deplorable humanitarian situation which requires immediate action to avert a humanitarian catastrophe," said Senior Humanitarian Coordinator Abou Dieng.

A 100 day plan

The funding will allow humanitarian organizations to scale up emergency efforts over the next three months as described in the 100 Day Plan for Priority Humanitarian Action in CAR. The plan, which is a part of a wider response strategy for the country in 2014, needs to be implemented now to provide life-saving assistance and implement programmes that will ensure the protection of civilians. Some of these programmes will focus on establishing women- and child-friendly spaces where people can feel safer and receive psychosocial support, as well as rehabilitating houses to improve security for families.

Despite the growing insecurity, aid organizations continue to reach as many people as possible. Over the last few weeks, the World Food Programme (WFP) has reached over 196,000 people with food assistance, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has distributed tents, blankets and other supplies to displaced families, and the World Health Organization (WHO) and the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) are making sure that children are receiving emergency health care and nutrition treatment.

"I commend the courage of humanitarian workers who have decided to stay side by side with the people of CAR during this difficult time," added Mr. Dieng. "And there is no better time than now for the donors and others to help humanitarians reach everyone in need."

Throughout 2014, humanitarian organizations need a total of $247 million to help provide emergency assistance and support recovery efforts across the country. The funding requirements could rise if the situation worsens and the needs increase.

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