NEW YORK (October 29, 2013) – With an increasing number of people displaced by violence across the Central African Republic, UNICEF warns that in the coming weeks, the growing needs of the population will exceed the emergency supplies available.
UNICEF urgently needs $3 million to procure emergency relief items such as blankets, mosquito nets, jerry cans and soap for 55,000 internally displaced people in Central African Republic over the next six months.
“Wherever our mobile teams go, they are seeing more people displaced by violence,” said Bob McCarthy, UNICEF Emergency Coordinator in Central African Republic. “Often, families leave everything behind when they flee and many remain in the bush without assistance. Their needs are more than what was planned for months ago, and we now risk running out of emergency supplies. Due to the deteriorating situation, what life-saving supplies remain may only last a few more weeks at best.”
UNICEF and its partners continue to respond with emergency distributions in conflict- affected areas in the Northwest and Southeast parts of the country. Since renewed violence broke out in August, UNICEF has provided more than 44,000 displaced people with plastic sheeting, blankets, mosquito nets, jerry cans, hygiene kits and soap.
“We are delivering essential medicines to restart emergency healthcare and safe water to families in displacement sites such as Bossangoa,” said McCarthy. “Simple items like jerry cans make a big difference in allowing people to transport and store water where they live. Any delay or disruption in the delivery of basic yet essential supplies puts displaced people and young children increasingly at risk of diarrhea and other diseases.”
Since September 2013, the number of people forced to flee their homes has nearly doubled; an estimated 394,000 people are now displaced. The majority are women and children who are primarily dependent on aid due to the deteriorating humanitarian situation in the country.
“We just arrived two days ago,” said 31-year-old farmer, Jean-de-Dieu, while setting up a makeshift shelter with plastic sheeting provided by UNICEF for his wife and five children in one of the displacement sites in Bossangoa. “We feel safer here than in the bush. Our huts were burned down and our cattle were stolen. We fled with nothing except some pots and cassava leaves.”
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) works in more than 190 countries and territories to save and improve children’s lives, providing health care and immunizations, clean water and sanitation, nutrition, education, emergency relief and more. The U.S. Fund for UNICEF supports UNICEF’s work through fundraising, advocacy, and education in the United States. Together, we are working toward the day when zero children die from preventable causes and every child has a safe and healthy childhood.
For additional information, please contact:
Susannah Masur, U.S. Fund for UNICEF, 212.880.9146, firstname.lastname@example.org