The UN’s security council has been reviewing the situation in the CAR, where instability following a coup five months ago is causing chaos across the country. There have been widespread reports of looting, rape and killings and the council described the current status as one of “a total breakdown of law and order”.
The UN’s humanitarian chief, Valerie Amos, called on the international community to take speedy action to restore security and bring the suffering of millions in the CAR to an end. In her comments to the meeting, which were reported in the Guardian, Baroness Amos spoke of the plight of the country’s people, who have moved from a “long-term crisis of poverty and chronic vulnerability” to “a complex emergency characterised by violence, acute needs and grave protection issues”.
Development workers inside the CAR say the turmoil has now affected the entire population of 4.6 million people, with around 1.6 million in desperate need of safety, food, shelter, healthcare, water and other assistance. More than 200,000 people are estimated to have fled their homes internally. Another 60,000 have taken refuge in neighbouring states, the majority fleeing to the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Children hiding out in the bush
Save the Children this week issued a warning that at least 100,000 children are living in extremely vulnerable situations, where they are open to sexual abuse or recruitment by armed groups. These are children who have been forced to flee their homes, with many said to be hiding out in the bush. Without the protection of bed nets, children are at much greater risk from malaria. And with no access to regular food supplies, cases of malnutrition are also on the rise.
UN council members were in agreement that urgent action was needed and the UN’s envoy to the CAR concluded that such action should take the form of a 3,500-strong African peacekeeping mission. This would be a “legitimate force” in the country to restore order and stability. Baroness Amos warned that any “failure to act now could not only prolong and exacerbate the appalling conditions the people of the CAR have had to endure, but could also see the crisis spread beyond its borders and throughout a region already facing enormous challenges”.
SOS Children is carrying out emergency relief work in CAR. You can help by sponsoring a child...