UNICEF Responds to Crisis in Central African Republic
As intensifying violence in the Central African Republic (CAR) drives growing numbers of families from their homes, UNICEF warned yesterday that supplies of lifesaving emergency goods are running critically low.
“Wherever our mobile teams go, they are seeing more people displaced by violence.” says Bob McCarthy, UNICEF’s Emergency Coordinator in the Central African Republic. “What lifesaving supplies remain may only last a few more weeks at best.”
The number of people forced by the violence to flee their homes has almost doubled. Nearly 400,000 are now displaced. Many have come to Bossangoa, a provincial capital in the northwestern section of the country. The majority are families and children who rely on aid to survive.
“We just arrived two days ago,” said 31-year-old farmer, Jean-de-Dieu, while setting up a makeshift shelter for his wife and five children with plastic sheeting provided by UNICEF. “We feel safer here than in the bush. Our huts were burned down and our cattle were stolen. We fled with nothing except some pots and cassava leaves.”
Since renewed violence broke out in August, more than 44,000 displaced people have received plastic sheeting, blankets, mosquito nets, jerry cans, hygiene kits and soap with UNICEF support. As a result, there is an urgent need to replenish stocks of these supplies as reports of atrocities increase.
A shortfall of $20 million threatens UNICEF”s ability to provide the emergency supplies and services the growing numbers of displaced families need.