United Nations humanitarian agencies and their partners today launched a joint appeal to donors to fund emergency operations in support of the growing number of people who have been fleeing the conflict in the Central African Republic (CAR) since last December.
Nearly 200,000 Central Africans, third country nationals and returnees who escaped violence in CAR over the past four months are now struggling to restart their lives in the impoverished countries of Cameroon, Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Republic of Congo, according to a news release.
The $274 million sought for the CAR Regional Response Plan is needed to cover pressing needs for shelter, food, water and sanitation, health, education and basic needs for those uprooted in the region – estimated to reach 362,200 by the end of this year – as well as for registration and building reception facilities and camps.
“All the agencies working in the region are dramatically underfunded,” the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, António Guterres, said in his presentation of the Response Plan to delegates meeting in Geneva.
He said the refugee agency (UNHCR) is already spending three times the money that has been received or pledged for this emergency and still far less than the staggering needs of the people. “This cannot be sustained,” Mr. Guterres stressed.
In addition to those who have sought refuge in neighbouring countries, more than 600,000 are also internally displaced in CAR and 2.2 million, about half the country’s population, are in need of humanitarian aid as a result of the conflict which began in December 2012 with attacks by mainly Muslim Séléka rebels.
Séléka fighters clashed with Christian youth organized under the anti-Balaka movement, which is now targeting Muslim communities in the capital, Bangui, and in the west of the country.
Communal violence has had a devastating effect on civilians of both communities, with over 600,000 people still displaced inside CAR. The mainly women and children fleeing atrocities in CAR are arriving in neighbouring countries deeply traumatized, many wounded by machete or gunshot, malnourished and exhausted from weeks of walking and hiding, UNHCR reported.