Central African Republic : 63% in need of humanitarian aid

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Najat Rochdi, press briefing, UNRIC Brussels, 14 November 2018 (© G. Cornwell)

14 November 2018. The humanitarian situation in the Central African Republic continues to deteriorate as a consequence of increased insecurity and renewed attacks of armed groups.

Populations have been displaced repeatedly and as a consequence 63% of the population is in need of humanitarian assistance now, compared to 48% last year. 1.6 million people are in imminent danger.

During a visit to Brussels, Ms. Najat Rochdi, the Humanitarian Coordinator of the United Nations in the Central African Republic told reporters that the country could be threatened with famine within a few years. Rochdi, who is also the Deputy Special Representative of the UN Secretary General and UN Resident Coordinator met with senior EU officals and Belgian Government representatives during her visit to Brussels. She told a press conference at UNRIC that so many people were internally displaced or had fled the country that agricultural production had decreased considerably.

650,000 are currently internally displaced while 1.2 million have become refugees in neighbouring countries out of a total population of 4.6 million.

Despite increased needs, the UN has cut its humanitarian appeal by $100 million compared to last year, thanks to a better evaluaton of the situation based on research on the ground instead of projections.

The UN has set three strategic objectives: decentralisation of personnel and humanitarian aid within the country, prioritisation of action towards the most vulnerable and improvement of the quality of humanitarian response.  « During the rainy season many regions are inaccessible in the country which is the size of France and Belgium combined, » Ms. Rochdi said.

After her talks in Brussels as well as in London, Ms. Rochdi considers that there is continued will to support the population.

« It is reassuring that they are not abandonning the Central African Republic, » she told the press conference.

Since 2016 the Central African Republic has relapsed into violence. Two weeks ago a camp for internally displaced people housing 27,000 people was arsoned in Batangafo in the north western part of the country.

«There is a regional dimension to the conflict so support from the neighbouring countries is required to restore peace, » said Ms. Rochdi.

« The African initiative is very important », she underlined. This initiative launched by the African Union and supported by the UN, aims at a negotiated durable cease-fireThe head of the UN Peacekeeping mission, MINUSCA,   Parfait Onanga-Anyanga, is one of the facilitators of this initiative.

 The Central African Republic is a landlocked country with a relatively small population of 4.6 million. Socio-political instability, numerous rebellions and coups d´Etat, and inter-ethnic conflicts have hampered its development. This situation has undermined social services and economic infrastructure, as well as forcing a large number of children out of school. « Despite our efforts, we cannot foresee any improvement in the next two to three years, » added the humanitarian coordinator.