Yesterday, the EU Commissioner responsible for international cooperation and humanitarian aid announced that Europe would give an additional 8 million dollars to the Central African Republic (CAR). This brings the total aid funding to 20 million dollars since the start of the year.
After a visit to the beleaguered capital, Bangui, the EU Commissioner concluded that the whole population of CAR (4 million people spread across a country almost the size of France) was now affected by the crisis following a coup in March. As reported by Reuters, the Commissioner called on the EU’s “international partners in humanitarian aid and development to redouble their efforts to end the suffering of the population”.
Aid agencies still working in the country, including SOS Children have been doing all they can to support families in the areas where they are active. But, this week, Medecins Sans Frontiers (MSF) declared that the remaining agencies could not tackle the “humanitarian emergency” alone and were feeling abandoned by the international community.
According to MSF, most aid agencies have withdrawn from the capital and as a result of widespread looting and insecurity across the country, the health care system has collapsed. The medical charity says that many families have had to seek refuge in the bush where they have no protection against mosquitoes. People are therefore falling ill with chronic malaria and MSF reports a greater than 30% increase in cases this year.
Malnutrition is also on the rise; MSF found levels of global acute malnutrition among under fives of over 10% in south-western regions and surveys conducted by UNICEF across much of the country attest to higher local food prices, adding to the growing misery for families.
With no access to health care services, MSF says more children are dying from preventable illnesses, especially since routine vaccination programmes for diseases such as measles, meningitis and whooping cough have been disrupted. An MSF spokesperson summed up the situation by saying that in a country with “the second-lowest life expectancy in the world, at just 48 years, the people are now even more at risk”.