Tens of Thousands of People Displaced from Central African Republic into Chad Face Crisis, says UNICEF
NEW YORK (March 5, 2014) – As the humanitarian crisis in Central African Republic continues to spill over into neighboring countries, UNICEF is raising the alert that more than 76,000 people, mostly women and children, fleeing the violence from CAR into Chad are in urgent need of additional assistance.
“In the displacement site along the border, I saw mostly mothers and children who left everything behind in Central African Republic when running for their lives”, said Manuel Fontaine, Regional Director of UNICEF for West and Central Africa, who is visiting Chad.
“Every week, our teams on the ground continue to witness people crossing the border into Chad. Many of them, especially children, have been exposed to horrific forms of violence.”
Over the past two months, UNICEF has deployed additional medical staff and scaled up the distribution of life-saving supplies and shelters in the transit centers where displaced people arrive, in collaboration with the government and other partners, including the UN refugee agency (UNHCR), the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the World Food Programme, and various non-governmental organizations.
A total of 30,000 displaced people received basic family water, hygiene, and medical kits and now have access to dozens of boreholes for water and 300 emergency latrines built by UNICEF. In southern Chad, more than 12,500 children were vaccinated through mass immunization campaigns supported by UNICEF.
So far, 1,062 children were registered as unaccompanied or separated from their families. Almost half of them have been reunited. UNICEF is working with the authorities and the IOM to ensure immediate care, psychological support and protection for these displaced children, who often have been through a very traumatic experience in the Central African Republic.
“Ending the crisis in Central African Republic is the priority to keep everyone’s safe,” Fontaine stressed. “The enormous humanitarian needs in Chad will increase in the coming weeks. The rainy season is fast approaching, and many displacement sites are located in areas prone to recurrent flooding and waterborne diseases. A deteriorating humanitarian situation at the onset of the rainy season should be prevented. We need to get ready not only for new arrivals but also for cholera, measles, malaria, polio, meningitis epidemics and floods. ”
In the last month, the number of people crossing the border from CAR into Chad has more than doubled.
However, a shortfall in funding is straining the capacity of UNICEF and other organizations to provide life-saving assistance and support emergency efforts already underway by government authorities and humanitarian agencies. UNICEF has raised only $2 million out of the $14 million needed to meet immediate needs.
The humanitarian community in Chad estimates that $33 million is required to provide emergency assistance to as many as 150,000 displaced people over the next six months.
Aside from Chad, other neighboring countries such as Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and to a lesser extent, the Republic of Congo, are also increasingly affected by the impact of the humanitarian crisis in the Central African Republic.
It is also estimated that more than 500,000 children under five will be affected this year by acute malnutrition in the Sahel belt of Chad, including an estimated 126,000 children under-five affected by severe acute malnutrition in the Sahel.
The light 2013 rains significantly affected agricultural production, particularly in the Sahel belt. This means the hunger season—April to September—will start early, with an estimated 2.3 million people experiencing food insecurity.
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) works in 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 more information, visit www.unicefusa.org.
For additional information, please contact:
Susannah Masur, U.S. Fund for UNICEF, 212.880.9146, [email protected]