NEW YORK (June 13, 2014) – Six months after intense fighting reached Bangui, capital of Central African Republic, scores of children have been killed, hundreds have been maimed and thousands have been displaced.
“The violence in Central African Republic is gut-wrenching in its brutality and viciousness, and children have not been spared,” said Souleymane Diabaté, UNICEF Representative in Central African Republic. “On average, at least one child has been maimed or killed in clashes every day in the past six months. The cycle of brutality and retaliation must stop.”
UNICEF has verified that 277 children have been maimed and 74 killed over the past six months. The actual numbers are much higher, including deaths and sickness caused by the total collapse of basic services. Because of the relentless violence and insecurity in some parts of the country, UNICEF is unable to verify all cases of violations against children.
A worsening situation across the country, including the capital, is again forcing increasing numbers of people away from their homes. There are now more than half a million internally displaced people, at least half of whom are children.
Another 347,000 people—two-thirds of them children—have fled the country and now live as refugees, mostly in Cameroon, but also in Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Republic of the Congo.
UNICEF is working closely with partners to protect children from violence, providing safe spaces for learning and psychological support for those most affected. Children separated from their families are being registered for reunification as quickly as possible. Negotiations are ongoing with armed groups who have recruited children to secure their immediate release and reintegrate them within their communities when possible.
UNICEF is also helping provide humanitarian assistance to displaced children and families in need, providing safe water, sanitation and other essentials like tarps for shelter, plastic mats and jerry cans.
Lack of funding remains a critical concern. The crisis in the Central African Republic and neighboring countries is UNICEF’s least funded large-scale regional emergency. Overall needs recently increased to $120 million for 2014, and are less than 25 percent met.
“We are committed to staying the course and to doing all we can for the children of the Central African Republic,” said Diabaté. “The international community has to do its share as well.”
How to help: For more information or to make a tax-deductible contribution to UNICEF’s relief efforts, please contact the U.S. Fund for UNICEF:
Toll free: 1-800-FOR-KIDS
Mail: 125 Maiden Lane, 10th Floor, New York, NY 10038
As with any emergency, in the event that donations exceed anticipated needs, the U.S. Fund will redirect any excess funds to children in greatest need.
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, [email protected]