UNHCR seeks $210m in revised appeal for refugees from Central African Republic

News Stories, 22 July 2014

© UNHCR/F.Noy
Severely malnourished refugee children from the Central African Republic at a feeding centre in Batouri hospital, Cameroon.

GENEVA, July 22 (UNHCR) The UN refugee agency and its partners today appealed for greater donor support to cope with the continuing outflow and deteriorating condition of refugees from the Central African Republic.

On Tuesday UNHCR together with 16 other humanitarian agencies revised the Regional Refugee Response Plan for the CAR situation, seeking US$210 million to assist the growing refugee numbers in four asylum countries Cameroon, Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Republic of Congo until the end of the year.

The new appeal figure is lower than the initial $274 million sought in April due to fewer-than-projected refugee arrivals in the DRC and the exclusion of returnees in Chad covered in the first appeal. However the needs have grown in Cameroon, where the majority of refugees are arriving, with $111 million requested in the revised plan almost double what was initially requested. Less than one-third of the revised plan has been funded so far.

More than 357,000 people have fled CAR for the four host countries since the crisis started in December 2012. This number includes some 160,000 people who left after clashes intensified between the Seleka alliance and anti-Balaka militia in December 2013. Of those who fled in the last seven months the majority of them Muslims over 118,000 are in Cameroon, 17,500 in Chad, over 15,000 in the DRC and 9,000 in the Republic of Congo.

The revised plan features enhanced measures to help the new arrivals, including receiving, registering and relocating them from the border to refugee sites, and providing services in life-saving sectors such as food, health, shelter, site planning and water and sanitation. Urgent steps are also needed to assist refugees who are living outside formal sites, as well as their host communities.

"The new refugees show signs of the brutal violence they have escaped in CAR. They have walked for weeks through the forests with little to eat or drink. In April and May, as many as 40 per cent of all the new refugees, children as well as adults, were suffering from malnutrition," UNHCR spokesman Babar Baloch told journalists in Geneva on Tuesday. "We fear that for some children the assistance may be coming too late."

He noted that malnutrition rates were particularly serious among the new arrivals in Cameroon, where "over 60 per cent of the refugees are women and children, with a high number of unaccompanied children".

There continues to be an urgent need to relocate refugees away from insecure and hard-to-reach locations, and to set up more refugee sites to ensure their safety. The start of the rainy season is raising concerns about the serious gaps in shelter, water, sanitation and hygiene.

Despite the escalating needs, the CAR situation remains one of the most poorly-funded emergencies.

"The underfunding is badly hampering our ability to provide even basic survival assistance for the refugees, and even less to the host communities," said Baloch.

See the Central African Republic Revised Regional Refugee Response Plan July 2014

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Central African Republic: Urgent Appeal

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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

Battling the Elements in Chad

More than 180,000 Sudanese refugees have fled violence in Sudan's Darfur region, crossing the border to the remote desert of eastern Chad.

It is one of the most inhospitable environments UNHCR has ever had to work in. Vast distances, extremely poor road conditions, scorching daytime temperatures, sandstorms, the scarcity of vegetation and firewood, and severe shortages of drinkable water have been major challenges since the beginning of the operation. Now, heavy seasonal rains are falling, cutting off the few usable roads, flooding areas where refugees had set up makeshift shelters, and delaying the delivery of relief supplies.

Despite the enormous environmental challenges, UNHCR has so far managed to establish nine camps and relocate the vast majority of the refugees who are willing to move from the volatile border.

Battling the Elements in Chad

Chad: Relocation from the Border to Refugee Camps

Since fighting broke out in Sudan's western region of Darfur last year, more than 110,000 Sudanese refugees have fled into Chad. They are scattered along a 600-km stretch of desert borderland under a scorching sun during the day and freezing temperatures during the night.

Access to these refugees in this inhospitable region is difficult. Staff of the UN refugee agency drive for days to locate them. Bombing in the border zone and cross-border raids by militia from Sudan put the refugees at risk and underscore the urgent need to move them to camps in the interior. In addition, the approach of the rainy season in May will make the sandy roads impassable. Aid workers are racing against time in an attempt bring emergency relief to these refugees.

Chad: Relocation from the Border to Refugee Camps

Joint Appeal: Help Needed for Central African RefugeesPlay video

Joint Appeal: Help Needed for Central African Refugees

The UN refugee agency and its partners appealed for more donor support to cope with the continuing outflow and deteriorating condition of refugees from the Central African Republic.
Joint Appeal: Help Needed for Central African RefugeesPlay video

Joint Appeal: Help Needed for Central African Refugees

The UN refugee agency and its partners appealed for more donor support to cope with the continuing outflow and deteriorating condition of refugees from the Central African Republic.
Joint Appeal: Help Sought as Food Shortages Threaten Refugees in AfricaPlay video

Joint Appeal: Help Sought as Food Shortages Threaten Refugees in Africa

The World Food Programme and the United Nations refugee agency seek urgent funding to help 800,000 refugees in Africa affected by food shortages. Cuts in food rations threaten to worsen already unacceptable levels of acute malnutrition, stunting and anaemia, particularly in children.