Matindi-Sephora is 19 years old. She had to flee from Kaga Bandoro IDP camp, where she lived for three years, one month ago, after a Seleka attack which killed 37 people. She traveled to Bangui while she was pregnant. Her daughter, Elvira, borned just after her arrival. She was with her sister Mireille, 20 and her son Dieudonné. They would like to go back to Kaga Bandoro but they don't have money and it's difficult to them to be integrated in Ben Zvi IDP camp where 2,000 people are living for three years.

With the number of people food insecure almost doubling in the last year and other humanitarian needs still immense, the humanitarian situation in the Central African Republic (CAR) is getting worse, not better.  Some 2.3 million people rely on humanitarian assistance – half the country’s population. An estimated 2 million people are food insecure, compared with 1.2 million people in 2016.  

Date: 7 November 2016
Photo credit: NRC/ Edouard Dropsy
Read caption Matindi-Sephora,19, was still pregnant when she was forced to flee from the Kaga Bandoro camp for internally displaced in 2016 when conflict again escalated in the Central African republic. Photo credit: NRC/ Edouard Dropsy

Central African Republic spiralling into new crisis

Tiril Skarstein|Published 17. Jul 2017
Three years after armed groups in the Central African Republic signed a ceasefire agreement, more than one million people are displaced. “The number of families displaced from their homes has increased to a level we have not witnessed since the peak of the conflict in 2014,” warned Eric Batonon, Country Director for the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC).

More than 100,000 people have fled their homes in the Central African Republic since April, due to renewed fighting in several parts of the country. In total, 534,000 people are now displaced within the country and another 481,000 people are living as refugees in neighbouring countries. Political turmoil and continued conflict have also left half of the population in need of humanitarian assistance. 

"We thought that the 2014 ceasefire would bring us peace and social cohesion, but now we are seeing the opposite. I left Bambari to find a safer place, after members of the ex-Seleka burnt our house and killed my brother,” said Frank Pabingui, a newly displaced father of two, to NRC staff in Sibut. 

      

Frank Pabingui fled with his wife and two children from Bambari this spring and has sought safety in Sibut. 

"We thought that the 2014 ceasefire would bring us peace and social cohesion, but now we are seeing the opposite. I left Bambari to find a safer place, after members of the ex-Seleka burnt our house and killed my brother,” he said.

Photo: NRC
Read caption Frank Pabingui fled with his wife and two children from Bambari this spring and has sought safety in Sibut. Photo: NRC

    

“We need to wake up to the fact that the Central African Republic is again spiralling into a devastating crisis. Closing our eyes to the current crisis won’t make it disappear, but only allow it to escalate,” said Batonon.

Lack of international attention to the crisis has been matched with a similar lack of funding. Halfway into the year, less than 30 percent of the funding required to meet the humanitarian needs in 2017 has been received.

“There is an urgent need for more funding to ensure that people receive the most basic life-saving assistance. Most of the newly displaced were forced to flee suddenly, leaving everything behind. They need food, clean drinking water, shelter, sanitation facilities and medical care. If we are not able to step up the support now, the dramatic humanitarian situation may fuel further conflicts,” said Batonon.

Three years ago, 23 July 2014, Seleka rebels and the anti-Balaka militia signed a ceasefire agreement, after one and a half year of conflict. The agreement was a first step towards a decrease in hostilities, but many issues remained unsolved and since November last year, the conflict has again escalated and spread to new parts of the country. In June this year, a peace deal was signed by 13 out of 14 armed groups in the country. The day after the peace agreement was signed, dozens of people were killed in new clashes in Bria in the east.

“The peace agreement brought hope, but this hope has been shattered by the increase in violence and new displacement during the last weeks”, said Batonon.

“All armed parties should stick to the agreement and work towards a lasting peace in the country. The combination of conflict, under-development, lack of public services like schools and health facilities, and high levels of acute malnutrition becomes a toxic cocktail, claiming too many civilian lives,” he added.  

Facts
  • 534,000 people are displaced within the Central African Republic and 481,000 people are living as refugees in neighbouring countries.
  • More than 2.2 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance, close to half the country´s population.
  • More than 180,000 people face acute malnutrition.
  • Central African Republic ranks as number 188 out of 188 countries at the human development index.
  • The country also tops NRC’s list of neglected displacement crises: https://www.nrc.no/the-worlds-most-neglected-displacement-crises/  
  • More than 1 out of 10 children die before the age of five and in close to 1 out of 100 childbirths the mother dies.
  • 66% of the population does not have access to drinking water, 25 % of the population does not have access to adequate shelter.
  • There is a 70 per cent funding gap. UN and humanitarian partners have requested almost $ 400 million to meet the needs for emergency assistance this year, but has so far received less than $ 120 million.

 

Source: OCHA, UNHCR, NRC

Media Contacts

Tiril Skarstein, Media Adviser, +47 90569287, tisk@nrc.no

Media hotline, +47 905 62 329, info@nrc.no