26 May 2017

Central African Republic: Fresh Violence Empties City in Central African Republic - Senior UN Official Urges More Aid

Photo: Zack Baddorf
A family uses tarps taken from a refugee camp to get shelter from the sun, with bricks for rebuilding their homes all around them in the PK5 neighborhood of Bangui.

A senior United Nations official is calling for additional humanitarian aid in the Central African Republic, where nearly the entire population of the city Bria was forcibly displaced last week.

The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said that more than 41,000 people were forced out of their homes in "unprecedented violence between rival armed groups" between 15 and 18 May.

In those days, people searching for protection flooded seven sites for internally displaced camps, among them one near a base for the UN peacekeeping force in the country (MINUSCA).

"With the emergence of an ethnic dimension to the conflict, hundreds of houses were burned, property looted and ransacked," said OCHA.

The resurgence of the last outbreaks of tension in the past two weeks has caused the displacement of about 100,000 people, 200 wounded and 300 dead, according to the Ministry of Social Health in the country.

Echoing the Government's concerns, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator in the country, Najat Rochdi, expressed concern at "this new outbreak of violence where civilian people are paying the highest cost."

A lack of sufficient shelters is the main concern, as CAR is now in a rainy season, following by the need for food and clean water.

OCHA said that shelters and food rations have been convoyed from Bangui and Bambari to Bria, but insecurity and the poor conditions of roads have delayed their arrival. The humanitarian community is also working to meet the needs in terms of supply of drinking water and sanitation.

Diseases are also increasing, spread by "promiscuity and poor hygiene," OCHA said.

The senior UN official has called for additional resources. Halfway through the year, funding for the 399.5 million dollars Humanitarian Response Plan is only at 64.8 million.

CAR is emerging from civil conflict which began in 2013, with clashes between the mainly Muslim Séléka rebel coalition and anti-Balaka militia, which are mostly Christian.

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