Last updateVen, 30 Jan 2015 3pm

CAR: Insecurity, access hamper UN aid efforts

New York, US - The UN says lack of security, access and funding are hampering efforts by the organisation and its partners to bring relief assistance to 2.2 million people affected by conflict in the Central African Republic (CAR), which is about half of the country's population.

In its latest update, made available to PANA in New York on Monday, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) painted a grim picture of the situation in the impoverished country where violence has taken on increasingly religious connotations with Muslim and Christian militias launching bloody attacks and reprisals.

It said that, since 24 December, there had been a 40 per cent increase in people displaced in Bangui, the capital, which now accounted for more than half the total of those uprooted, with some 100,000 seeking refuge at the international airport.

It noted that insecurity had made it hard to provide essential services, including an emergency vaccination campaign against measles, which started across the country on 3 January.

The UN, however, said despite the challenges, UN agencies and humanitarian partners were reaching people with essential relief supplies.

It disclosed that the UN World Food Programme (WFP) had provided food to nearly 250,000 people in December, but its food aid would be 90 per cent depleted in February due to the lack of funding.

It said that health partners had been providing malnutrition care in six camps in Bangui, while aid organisations had also provided soap, blankets, kitchen sets, sleeping mats and mosquito nets to hundreds of families around the country.

UN Under Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Mr. Jeffrey Feltman, is briefing the UN Security Council on Monday on the latest developments in CAR and the work of the UN integrated office in the Central African Republic, BINUCA.

CAR has been thrown into turmoil since mainly Seleka rebels launched attacks a year ago and forced President Francois Bozize to flee in March.

A transitional government has since been entrusted with restoring peace and paving the way for democratic elections, but armed clashes have erupted again, notably between ex-Seleka rebels, who are mainly Muslim, and Christian anti-balaka militias.

Pana 07/01/2014