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UN issues joint appeal with aid groups to alleviate suffering in Central African Republic

UN issues joint appeal with aid groups to alleviate suffering in Central African Republic

United Nations agencies and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) today launched a joint appeal for $50 million to provide emergency food, shelter and health care to 1 million people in the Central African Republic (CAR), where rising insecurity and financial problems are taking an increasingly serious toll.

The departing Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Jan Egeland said the situation had become urgent for many residents of the already impoverished country thanks to the effects of an armed opposition movement and a bankrupt government.

“I fear that unrest in the country could threaten regional stability, with implications for several countries,” he said, noting that the CAR is bordered by Chad and Sudan’s Darfur region, which have been beset by their own problems.

The insecurity is worst in the north, where more than 100 villages have been burned down this year and about 220,000 people forced to flee their homes. Violence in recent weeks close to the key towns of Kaga Bandoro in the centre of the country and Birao in the northeast has led to more displacement.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has identified health, protection, food security and shelter as priority needs for Central Africans.

Toby Lanzer, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator in the CAR, said during the appeal launch in the capital, Bangui, that “we are gearing up our response to save as many lives as we can.”

So far 10 international donors have between them provided $22.3 million this year for humanitarian efforts in the CAR, compared with just $9.8 million last year. The number of international NGOs present has also risen from two to nine.