UNHCR calls for humanitarian access as situation worsens in Central African Republic

News Stories, 13 December 2013

© UNHCR/L.Wiseberg
Displaced civilians find shelter in a church in Bangui.

BANGUI, Central African Republic, December 13 (UNHCR) The UN refugee agency on Friday said the humanitarian situation in the Central African Republic continues to deteriorate with tens of thousands seeking shelter from the violence.

In the capital Bangui, the fighting and sectarian violence of the past week has displaced an estimated 159,000 people, with 450 killings reported there and 160 in other parts of the country, according to the Central African Red Cross Society and the Danish Refugee Council. These reports are mainly coming from locations in north-western Central African Republic.

"At the airport in Bangui, there are 38,000 people, currently without latrines or washing facilities and with no shelter from the rains or sun. Conditions there and elsewhere are deteriorating," said a UNHCR spokesman.

He added that some 12,000 people were sheltering in the grounds of the capital's Saint Joseph Mukassa church, which has just one water point. "Local youth have dug latrines and UNHCR has provided plastic sheeting to allow some level of privacy and spaces where people can wash. However, people there urgently need food, shelter, soap and other basic aid," the spokesman said.

Among them are 460 people needing medical attention. This includes 101 pregnant women. There have been three births so far.

At the airport, UNHCR has provided tents to its partner organization, Médecins Sans Frontières, which is running a medical clinic. Aid is also going to other relief agencies, and UNHCR is working with fellow UN agencies and NGOs to scale up humanitarian operations across the Central African Republic. So far help has reached relatively small numbers 3,500 families in Bangui and another 3,000 helped in Bossangoa and much more is going to be needed.

"We appeal once again to all parties to let humanitarian help through, and to protect civilians," said the UNHCR spokesman. There are frequent reports of indiscriminate attacks against civilians, recruitment of child soldiers, sexual and gender-based violence, looting and destruction of property.

Indicative of the turmoil inside the Central African Republic is a rise over the last week in people fleeing to neighbouring countries. The Democratic Republic of the Congo has received close to 1,800 refugees mainly from Bangui: 1,457 into Zongo and more than 300 in Libenge.

Those in Libenge had to walk for several days with their children to reach villages facing Libenge, from where they used boats to cross the Oubangui River. Many arrived exhausted from the 200-kilometre walk across through forest. With the new arrivals, there are now around 47,000 Central African Republic refugees in DRC. The UN refugee agency is relocating the new arrivals to two camps Mole (Zongo) and Boyabo (Libenge).

Republic of Congo is also registering new arrivals from the prefecture of Lobaye in Central African Republic. Some of the refugees told UNHCR staff that more people were on their way. Since March, more than 10,500 Central African Republic nationals have sought refuge in Republic of Congo. In all, the crisis has driven more than 70,000 people into surrounding countries over the past year.

• DONATE NOW •

 

• GET INVOLVED • • STAY INFORMED •

UNHCR country pages

Central African Republic: Urgent Appeal

You can help save the lives of thousands of refugees

Donate to this crisis

Internally Displaced People

The internally displaced seek safety in other parts of their country, where they need help.

Related Internet Links

UNHCR is not responsible for the content and availability of external internet sites

Displaced in North Kivu: A Life on the Run

Fighting rages on in various parts of the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), with seemingly no end in sight for hundreds of thousands of Congolese forced to flee violence and instability over the past two years. The ebb and flow of conflict has left many people constantly on the move, while many families have been separated. At least 1 million people are displaced in North Kivu, the hardest hit province. After years of conflict, more than 1,000 people still die every day - mostly of hunger and treatable diseases. In some areas, two out of three women have been raped. Abductions persist and children are forcefully recruited to fight. Outbreaks of cholera and other diseases have increased as the situation deteriorates and humanitarian agencies struggle to respond to the needs of the displaced.

When the displacement crisis worsened in North Kivu in 2007, the UN refugee agency sent emergency teams to the area and set up operations in several camps for internally displaced people (IDPs). Assistance efforts have also included registering displaced people and distributing non-food aid. UNHCR carries out protection monitoring to identify human rights abuses and other problems faced by IDPs in North and South Kivu.

Displaced in North Kivu: A Life on the Run

Displaced by Fresh Fighting in North Kivu

Waves of fighting in eastern Democratic of the Republic since late April have displaced tens of thousands of people. Many have become internally displaced within the province, while others have fled to south-west Uganda's Kisoro district or to Rwanda via the Goma-Gisenyi crossing.

The stop-start clashes between government forces and renegade soldiers loyal to former rebel commander Bosco Ntaganda began in the province's Masisi and Walikale territories, but subsequently shifted to Rutshuru territory, which borders Uganda.

Between May 10-20, one of UNHCR's local NGO partners registered more than 40,000 internally displaced people (IDP) in Jomba and Bwesa sectors.

The IDPs are living in difficult conditions, staying in school buildings and churches or with host families. They lack food and shelter and have limited access to health facilities. Some of the displaced have reported cases of extortion, forced labour, beatings and recruitment of minors to fight.

UNHCR and other major aid organizations plan to distribute food, medicine and other aid. More than 300,000 people have been forcibly displaced in North and South Kivu since the start of the year, according to UN figures.

Displaced by Fresh Fighting in North Kivu

Internally Displaced in Chad

In scenes of devastation similar to the carnage across the border in Darfur, some 20 villages in eastern Chad have been attacked, looted, burned and emptied by roving armed groups since 4 November. Hundreds of people have been killed, many more wounded and at least 15,000 displaced from their homes.

Some 7,000 people have gathered near Goz Beida town, seeking shelter under trees or wherever they can find it. As soon as security permits, UNHCR will distribute relief items. The UN refugee agency has already provided newly arrived IDPs at Habila camp with plastic sheeting, mats, blankets and medicine. The agency is scouting for a temporary site for the new arrivals and in the meantime will increase the number of water points in Habila camp.

The deteriorating security situation in the region and the effect it might have on UNHCR's operation to help the refugees and displaced people, is of extreme concern. There are 90,000 displaced people in Chad, as well as 218,000 refugees from Darfur in 12 camps in eastern Chad.

Posted on 30 November 2006

Internally Displaced in Chad

UNHCR Meet: Nation of the DisplacedPlay video

UNHCR Meet: Nation of the Displaced

UNHCR's governing body, at its annual meeting, draws attention to the increasing numbers of displaced and the challenges of protecting and assisting them. The number of forcibly displaced people is equivalent to the 26th largest nation on earth.
Ukraine: Displaced at Home Play video

Ukraine: Displaced at Home

In Eastern Ukraine, officially hundreds of thousands have left their homes, including Tamara who found herself in exile in her own town.
Iraq: Moving to a New Camp in KhankePlay video

Iraq: Moving to a New Camp in Khanke

A new camp for displaced people is taking shape in the village of Khanke in Iraq's Kurdistan region, with the help of UNHCR and its partners. After weeks of uncomfortable living in the courtyard of an old public building, Chenar and her ethnic Yazidi family are looking forward to moving to the new facility.