Hundreds more flee Central African Republic to escape fresh violence

News Stories, 16 April 2013

© UNHCR/G.Casteele
Newly arrived refugees from Central African Republic at a transit centre in northern Democratic Republic of the Congo.

KINSHASA, Democratic Republic of the Congo, April 16 (UNHCR) The UN refugee agency on Tuesday called for an end to violence in Central African Republic (CAR) after fresh fighting in the capital, Bangui, forced hundreds more people to flee the country.

"In all, and from the recent instability in CAR, there are now well over 30,000 CAR refugees in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), as well as some 1,024 new refugees in Cameroon and 6,728 in Chad," said UNHCR spokesman Adrian Edwards, in Geneva.

He said that new refugees in DRC had told UNHCR that Seleka forces who captured Bangui last month had opened fire on residents resisting or protesting against looting and abuses committed during disarmament operations. Young males, who account for around 80 per cent of the refugees who crossed this past weekend, have been particularly affected.

"In DRC, 1,200 CAR refugees arrived between Saturday and Monday. And the influx continues," the spokesman said. The new arrivals are mostly hosted by the local population but some have also found their way to Worobe camp, across the river from CAR and located almost 20 kilometres to the east of Zongo.

Those in Worobe crossed by boat to Zongo and walked to the camp which now hosts 3,707 refugees. Others are in the villages or staying in public buildings. UNHCR provided all new arrivals with warm meals and is working to move all of them to the camp.

"It is of urgent importance that the Seleka authorities put an end to violence against civilians and restore security in Bangui and the rest of the country. This is necessary both to stem the outflow, and to allow for resumption of critical humanitarian operations inside the country," Edwards stressed.

UNHCR estimates that there are 173,000 internally displaced people in Central African Republic. In addition to this there are 17,000 mostly Congolese and Sudanese refugees in CAR, plus some 4,000 new Sudanese refugees who crossed into northern CAR ten days ago following tribal clashes in the Um Dukhun area of Western Darfur.

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Crisis in the Central African Republic

Little has been reported about the humanitarian crisis in the northern part of the Central African Republic (CAR), where at least 295,000 people have been forced out of their homes since mid-2005. An estimated 197,000 are internally displaced, while 98,000 have fled to Chad, Cameroon or Sudan. They are the victims of fighting between rebel groups and government forces.

Many of the internally displaced live in the bush close to their villages. They build shelters from hay, grow vegetables and even start bush schools for their children. But access to clean water and health care remains a huge problem. Many children suffer from diarrhoea and malaria but their parents are too scared to take them to hospitals or clinics for treatment.

Cattle herders in northern CAR are menaced by the zaraguina, bandits who kidnap children for ransom. The villagers must sell off their livestock to pay.

Posted on 21 February 2008

Crisis in the Central African Republic

UNHCR/Partners Bring Aid to North Kivu

As a massive food distribution gets underway in six UNHCR-run camps for tens of thousands of internally displaced Congolese in North Kivu, the UN refugee agency continues to hand out desperately needed shelter and household items.

A four-truck UNHCR convoy carrying 33 tonnes of various aid items, including plastic sheeting, blankets, kitchen sets and jerry cans crossed Wednesday from Rwanda into Goma, the capital of the conflict-hit province in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The aid, from regional emergency stockpiles in Tanzania, was scheduled for immediate distribution. The supplies arrived in Goma as the World Food Programme (WFP), with assistance from UNHCR, began distributing food to some 135,000 displaced people in the six camps run by the refugee agency near Goma.

More than 250,000 people have been displaced since the fighting resumed in August in North Kivu. Estimates are that there are now more than 1.3 million displaced people in this province alone.

Posted on 6 November 2008

UNHCR/Partners Bring Aid to North Kivu

UNHCR/Partners Bring Aid to North Kivu

Since 2006, renewed conflict and general insecurity in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo's North Kivu province has forced some 400,000 people to flee their homes – the country's worst displacement crisis since the formal end of the civil war in 2003. In total, there are now some 800,000 people displaced in the province, including those uprooted by previous conflicts.

Hope for the future was raised in January 2008 when the DRC government and rival armed factions signed a peace accord. But the situation remains tense in North Kivu and tens of thousands of people still need help. UNHCR has opened sites for internally displaced people (IDPs) and distributed assistance such as blankets, plastic sheets, soap, jerry cans, firewood and other items to the four camps in the region. Relief items have also been delivered to some of the makeshift sites that have sprung up.

UNHCR staff have been engaged in protection monitoring to identify human rights abuses and other problems faced by IDPs and other populations at risk across North Kivu.

UNHCR's ninemillion campaign aims to provide a healthy and safe learning environment for nine million refugee children by 2010.

Posted on 28 May 2008

UNHCR/Partners Bring Aid to North Kivu

UNHCR's Dr. Paul Spiegel on the Border of CAR  and CameroonPlay video

UNHCR's Dr. Paul Spiegel on the Border of CAR and Cameroon

This video was shot by one of our staff* using a mobile phone as they helped refugees who had crossed the river to safety.
Central African Republic: Torn CommunitiesPlay video

Central African Republic: Torn Communities

For more than a year, inter-communal strife has displaced tens of thousands of people in the Central African Republic. But amid the violence, efforts are being made to promote reconciliation.
Central African Republic : Bangui Airport RefugePlay video

Central African Republic : Bangui Airport Refuge

UNHCR's High Commissioner António Guterres visits Central African Republic and meets internally displaced people in Bangui airport. He says the international community needs to give the CAR crisis the same focus as the emergencies in Syria and South Sudan.