United Nations humanitarian staff working in crisis-torn Central African Republic (CAR) reported today that despite peace talks, civilians continue to be caught in crossfire in ongoing fighting.
According to a UN spokesperson in New York, 26 civilians were killed earlier this week when clashes between armed groups resulted in an attack on the village of Batangafo in Ouham Prefecture.
"Our humanitarian colleagues tells us that despite recent peace talks in Brazzaville, clashes between armed groups have continued, exacting a heavy toll on civilians," Stéphane Dujarric told reporters at UN Headquarters in New York.
Even more alarming, the continued insecurity is having a direct impact on aid efforts. Sixteen aid workers have been killed in the CAR since fighting reached its peak in December. An estimated 527,000 people are still internally displaced, including 102,000 internally displaced persons in Bangui. And over half the population - 2.5 million people - need humanitarian assistance.
In addition to the perilous security situation, the efforts of aid groups are also being hindered by a lack of funding, Mr. Dujarric said. Less than 40 per cent of the $565 million needed for 2014 has been received so far.
Last week, the spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said lack of funds was badly hampering efforts to provide even the most basic survival assistance for refugees. Assistance gaps remain in shelter and water, sanitation and hygiene, posing particular concern now that the rainy season has begun.
The CAR has been embroiled in fighting currently fuelled by inter-communal retaliatory attacks between anti-balaka and Séléka rebels, after the latter were ousted from power in January 2014. An estimated 2.2 million people are in need of humanitarian aid as a result.