22 January 2016

Central African Republic: Nearly 2.5 Million People Face Hunger

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and its partners have revealed that half the population of the Central African Republic (CAR), nearly 2.5 million people face hunger. The Deputy Country Director of WFP, Guy Adoua gave the information in a press release on Wednesday, January 20, 2016 following the institution's emerging food security assessment. "Three years of crisis have taken a huge toll on the people of CAR," Guy Adoua said in the release. He added that, "Families have been forced so often to sell what they own, pull their kids out of school, even resort to begging, that they have reached the end of their rope.

This is not the usual run-of-the-mill emergency. People are left with nothing." The assessment indicates that one in six women, men and children struggles with severe or extreme food insecurity, while more than one in three is moderately food insecure, not knowing where their next meal is coming from. Faced with the situation, Mr Adoua said, "WFP is extremely concerned by this alarming level of hunger. People not only lack enough food but are also forced to consume low-cost, low-nutrient food that does not meet their nutritional needs."

The Central African Republic is gradually coming out a three-year sectarian fighting between the ex-Selaka and Ant-balaka rebel movements and sporadic attacks by other armed groups.

The report shows that the 2014-2015 harvest was poor and that food prices remain high as farmers have not tended their fields due to insecurity, and hundreds of thousands have been forced to flee their homes and abandon their land and livelihoods. More clashes reportedly erupted in September 2015 when much of the food security data for the assessment was being collected.

WFP in the report recommends continued emergency food assistance to displaced families and returnees; food and technical assistance to farmers to recover; creating safety nets through programmes such as the school meals programme; and providing support to rehabilitate the infrastructure through food-for-assets activities.

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