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Entire population of the Central African Republic affected by ongoing violence

65,000 people are thought to have left CAR to escape the violence
65,000 people are thought to have left CAR to escape the violence

Almost the entire population of the Central African Republic (CAR) has now been affected by the ongoing violence and instability, according to a recent assessment from the UN Office for Coordination for Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

The agency estimates that of the country’s 4.5 million people, around 1.1 million outside the capital of Bangui are in need of assistance with “health, nutrition, shelter [or] protection”.

In August, the United Nations warned that the CAR was “close to being a failed state”. Three months later and a spokesperson for OCHA admitted that the situation was now “worse”. Around 65,000 people are believed to have fled the country, many to neighbouring Cameroon.

In Bossangoa, the medical charity MSF says that many CAR patients arriving at its hospital speak of whole villages which have been attacked and pillaged and now lie deserted. The charity’s medical workers say that their patients include “children under five recovering from bullet wounds”. MSF is also seeing many children admitted with malaria, some of them so weakened by the illness and by malnutrition, that it is impossible to save them.

Lack of security and funding

The United Nations has appealed for 195 million dollars to help people in the CAR. To-date, less than half of this sum has been raised. However, even with adequate funds, some of the main aid agencies say their workers are unable to venture far from the capital and they can only guess at what’s happening in some areas. France has warned that with the levels of violence spiralling, the country could be “on the verge of genocide”.

The news agency IRIN reports that the presence of armed groups has emptied villages along the 100km stretch of road between Bossangoa and Bangui. Families from rural communities have either taken to hiding in their fields or have fled to the major towns and cities. Living conditions among refugees are described as “horrendous” as water and sanitation facilities are overstretched.

The violence has also caused schools to close down and around 70% of the nation’s children are now believed to be out of education. One teacher who has no pupils told IRIN that he hoped to take his family abroad since “there’s nothing for this place now”.

SOS Children works to protect the most vulnerable families in the Central African Republic. Learn more about our work...