The United Nations has allocated an additional $10 million from its emergency humanitarian fund to support the most critical relief operations in Central African Republic (CAR), where hundreds of thousands have been uprooted by violence across the country.
This is the second $10 million allocation in about two months from the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) to support aid efforts in CAR, which has plunged into chaos and deadly violence following months of political crisis and lawlessness.
An estimated 2.5 million people - well over half of the country's 4.6 million residents - are in need of assistance, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
Valerie Amos, the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and head of OCHA, says that needs in the country are tremendous, and humanitarian partners are being forced to prioritize the delivery of assistance.
Security and stability must be urgently restored, and more must be done to address the root causes of conflict and prevent escalation of violence, she adds.
A total of $207 million in humanitarian funding to the CAR was pledged by donors at a special meeting held last month in Brussels. As of this week, 28 per cent of the pledges have been committed or disbursed, amounting to $57.5 million. OCHA added that the $551 million Strategic Response Plan for CAR is just 13 per cent funded.
Thousands of people are estimated to have been killed in the conflict in CAR, which erupted when mainly Muslim Séléka rebels launched attacks in December 2012 and has taken on increasingly sectarian overtones as mainly Christian militias known as anti-Balaka (anti-machete) have taken up arms.
Earlier this week, the UN human rights office (OHCHR) warned that the security situation in the capital of Bangui continues to deteriorate, with targeted assassinations and rising violence and criminality on the streets.
Also today, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon discussed the ongoing crisis in CAR with the President of France, Francois Hollande.