With increasing numbers of people forced to flee violence across the Central African Republic, UNICEF warns that the growing needs will exceed the available emergency supplies in the coming weeks.
“Wherever our mobile teams go, they are seeing more people displaced by violence,” said Bob McCarthy, UNICEF Emergency Coordinator in Central African Republic. “Often, families leave everything behind when they flee and many remain in the bush without assistance. Their needs are more than what was planned for months ago, and we now risk running out of emergency supplies. Due to the deteriorating situation, what life-saving supplies remain may only last a few more weeks at best.”
Since renewed violence broke out in August, more than 44,000 displaced people have received plastic sheeting, blankets, mosquito nets, jerry cans, hygiene kits and soap with UNICEF support. UNICEF and its partners continue to respond with emergency distributions in the conflict- affected areas in North-West and South-East parts of the country, through the Rapid Response Mechanism. As a result, there is an urgent need to replenish stocks in view of the recent trends in violence and displacement.
“We are delivering essential medicines to restart emergency healthcare and safe water to families in displacement sites such as Bossangoa,” said McCarthy. “Simple items like jerry cans make a big difference in allowing people to transport and store water where they live. Any delay or disruption in the delivery of basic yet essential supplies puts displaced people and young children increasingly at risk of diarrhoea and other diseases.”
Since September 2013, the number of people forced to flee their homes has almost doubled with an estimated 394,000 now displaced. The majority are women and children who are primarily dependent on aid due to the deteriorating humanitarian situation in the country.
“We just arrived two days ago,” said 31-year-old farmer, Jean-de-Dieu, while setting up a makeshift shelter with plastics sheeting provided by UNICEF for his wife and five children in one of the displacement sites in Bossangoa. “We feel safer here than in the bush. Our huts were burned down and our cattle were stolen. We fled with nothing except some pots and cassava leaves.”
UNICEF urgently needs US$3 million in additional funds for emergency relief items like blankets, mosquito nets, jerry cans and soap for 55,000 internally displaced people in Central African Republic over the next six months.
Additional supplies are arriving by air this week in Bangui providing 48 metric tonnes of mosquito nets and emergency provisions for 6,000 families with support from the Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance.
Notes for the editors:
In late 2012, UNICEF set up the ECHO-financed Rapid Response Mechanism (RRM) based on the right of people affected by sudden emergencies to timely humanitarian response. Key RRM components are rapid emergency assessment, advocacy for response, and RRM interventions as provider of last resort when no other options exist. The 2013 RRM response has also included emergency water and nutritional interventions.
For more information please contact Rose Foley, UNICEF UK: + 44 (0)20 7375 6077 / M: + 44 (0)7964 296 431/ email@example.com
UNICEF is the world’s leading organisation for children, working in over 190 countries to help every child realise their full potential. We work with partners to transform the lives of children everywhere. UNICEF provides health care, water, nutrition, education and protection for children. The most vulnerable and disadvantaged children are our priority. As champion of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, we work to protect and promote the rights of every child. UNICEF UK raises funds for UNICEF’s emergency and development work and advocates for lasting change for children everywhere. We are a UK registered charity, supported entirely by voluntary donations. We do not receive any money from the UN. For more information, please visit www.unicef.org.uk