Bangui — The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) is distributing food to people at Bangui International Airport where an estimated 100,000 people have sought refuge. The food distributions resumed after a three-week break because of insecurity at the site.
The distributions resumed on Tuesday without incident and continued on Wednesday. On the first day, WFP has distributed food rations to 5,490 people. WFP and its partners plan over a 10-day period to provide food to all the displaced at the airport.
WFP worked with UNHCR, UNICEF, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the Italian NGO COOPI and community leaders over the last few weeks to organize secure distributions of food and other assistance to the displaced who are sheltering at the airport.
WFP thanked French troops, who secured the distribution site at the airport, as well as soldiers in the African Union peacekeeping mission MISCA who are patrolling the area. The distributions include food, and buckets, tarpaulins, water containers and other items from other organizations.
"We appreciate the joint efforts of the international community, especially the efficient collaboration of the UN agencies, that allowed food distributions at the airport to resume," said Denise Brown, WFP West Africa Regional Director. "We very much hope that security condition will allow them to continue."
"We have overcome a significant challenge, but more are still to come. We are very concerned about deteriorating security in the Northwest of the country," she said. The precarious security situation throughout the country has made it extremely difficult for WFP and its partners in recent weeks to reach people who are in dire need of humanitarian assistance.
WFP urges all parties to the conflict in CAR to provide safe access to humanitarian workers and supplies to all people who are in need of assistance wherever they are.
WFP is providing food assistance to the displaced in Bangui and several other locations in the northwest of the country. WFP has provided food for nearly 240,000 people in CAR since violence intensified on 5 December.
WFP has appealed for nearly US$107 million to scale up food distributions in CAR to assist up to 1.25 million people from January through August as growing numbers go hungry.
In December, WFP launched a special operation to deploy more staff, to set up local offices, obtain security and telecommunications equipment and establish cross-border flights into CAR at a cost of US$5.3 million through June.