Bangui — A cargo plane carrying over 186 metric tons of emergency supplies for children in conflict-affected Central African Republic (CAR) arrived this week in Bangui.
The airlift and supplies, provided by USAID's Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA), include 24,080 buckets, 24,000 wool blankets, 12,000 kitchen sets, 1,090 rolls of plastic sheeting and 28 crates of water bladder kits which will be distributed to highly vulnerable populations. The flight is the first of a two-part airlift to benefit 60,000 vulnerable people. The second airlift is scheduled to arrive in two weeks.
"Long before the ongoing conflict, Central African children were already among the most vulnerable in the world," said Souleymane Diabaté, UNICEF CAR Representative.
"Young lives are being shattered by this ongoing crisis that has lasted over two years. Basic things such as a blanket to stay warm or a bucket to store clean water make a big difference for vulnerable families struggling to survive."
"Right now, the Central African Republic is among the most dangerous places for aid workers to do their job," said Jeremy Konyndyk, Director of USAID's Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance.
"This airlift represents the commitment of the U.S. government to save lives and make sure our assistance reaches those most in need, especially in the hardest to reach and underserved areas of the country."
USAID/OFDA is supporting UNICEF's emergency response with a new contribution of over US $1.8 million for safe water, emergency health services and relief supplies. In total, USAID/OFDA has contributed over US $6 million towards UNICEF's emergency response in CAR since January 2014. "Without such important partnerships, UNICEF would not be able to reach as many children as we do now," Diabaté said.
Notes to editors
About UNICEF Central African Republic
UNICEF has worked in the Central African Republic since 1968. UNICEF has offices in Bangui, Bossangoa, and Kaga Bandoro, and leads a Rapid Response Mechanism that delivers emergency supplies to areas where there is virtually no humanitarian presence.
With currently 150 staff members on the ground and strong partnerships with other UN agencies and NGOs, UNICEF has been able to dramatically increase its humanitarian capacity in the Central African Republic.
Nevertheless, lack of funding remains a critical concern. The CAR crisis is UNICEF's least funded regional emergency and a further US$81 million are required to meet the humanitarian needs of children in 2014.