Violence in Central African Republic
Millions of children under threat
UNICEF has accelerated efforts to aid the 2.3 million children affected by more than a year of conflict in the deeply impoverished Central African Republic (CAR). With fighting intensifying in the country's northwest region, another 120,000 people have been forced to flee from their homes, bringing the total number of displaced to 601,000.
Seven out of 10 primary school children are no longer attending school, making them vulnerable to armed groups looking for new recruits. As many as 6,000 children may have been forced to serve as child soldiers. Sexual violence against girls has also increased. Malnutrition treatment programs have been interrupted, and health care has become difficult to obtain. Measles outbreaks have occurred throughout the country.
In response, UNICEF and its partners are working to immunize 550,000 children against measles and polio, which would increase the total number of children vaccinated to more than 1 million. UNICEF also supports emergency health activities in Bangui's four main hospitals and has helped reopen many nutrition clinics that had been shuttered by the war. In March UNICEF reported a 93% recovery rate for the nearly 3,000 children under the age of 5 who were admitted for severe acute malnutrition (SAM).
On the education front, UNICEF has resupplied schools with furniture and learning materials and is supporting efforts to educate child refugees in neighboring countries. More than 9,000 children have benefited from recreational facilities and psychosocial support provided by UNICEF, and 23,000 children are making use of temporary learning spaces. Through UNICEF's efforts, 234 children have been released by armed groups and 351 children who had been separated from their parents amid the chaos of the conflict have been reunited with their families.
More Support is Needed
Shortly after conflict erupted in the CAR in December 2012, UNICEF issued an emergency appeal for $11.5 million. Since then, however, funding needs have multiplied, leaving a funding gap of more than $47 million and threatening UNICEF's ability to continue delivering crucial emergency services.