May 17, 2014

Fresh Fights Displace Thousands In CAR

As fighting worsens in northern Central African Republic, United Nations humanitarian agencies and partners are working to protect displaced people and children, and to support conflict-hit farmers, it was announced today.

Internally displaced Central Africans gather to collect water. The needs of the newly displaced are great. Photo: UNHCR/A. Greco
Internally displaced Central Africans gather to collect water. The needs of the newly displaced are great. Photo: UNHCR/A. Greco

More than 23,000 people were displaced in the Kaga Bandoror area as of 2 May, a figure nearly double from the level a month earlier, UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) spokesperson Adrian Edwards confirmed.

Briefing journalists in Geneva, Mr. Edwards said the “most of the displaced are Christians, mainly women and children. Many of the men are hiding due to fear of attacks by armed groups.”

“The displaced urgently need physical protection, food, non-food items, water and sanitation, and other help,” he said.

Although some food support is being provided by UNHCR’s partner agencies, people are fast consuming their own food reserves, and are unable to cultivate their fields due to fear of attacks.

There is already a high prevalence of diarrhoea reported among children, he added.

Young people in the area are also in danger of being recruited by armed forces, not only as combatants, but also as cooks, porters and guards.

The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and partners secured the release of more than 1,000 children from armed groups in the CAR this year. That is more than five times the total number of children released in 2013, according to the UN agency spokesperson Christophe Boulierac.

However, thousands more children remain among the ranks of armed groups. Since violence escalated in December last year, their estimated number nearly doubled from 3,500 to around 6,000.

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