As members of the European Parliament meet October 7 and 8 to debate the latest violence in the Central African Republic, aid agency World Vision is warning that the country faces more instability unless the international community increases its support for this forgotten emergency.
Tens of thousands of people have fled the latest killings, joining 417,000 displaced people who had fled earlier attacks in 2012-13. M’poko, a massive displacement camp based at the airport in the capital Bangui, is now overflowing with frightened families. New camps have been set up elsewhere in the city.
Meanwhile aid has almost ground to a halt. Around 200 humanitarian aid workers were temporarily relocated out of CAR, including those with World Vision. INGOs either evacuated staff to neighbouring countries or hibernated operations after a spike in violence and killing that left 61 dead and more than 37,000 people newly displaced.
Humanitarian access to people who fled, in both remote rural areas and tense parts of the capital, has become impossible due to insecurity. Calm is returning but there is a risk that violence could break out at any time. Aid agencies are reporting increasing anti-INGO and UN sentiment in the face of rumours, misinformation and the sense that more needs to be done by the UN peacekeepers to keep a lid on the violence. A number of agencies have had their offices and aid supplies looted. UN convoys have been attacked.
Moussa Sangara, World Vision Response Manager for the Central African Republic, said: “There are 37,000 more people now in displacement camps, among them 15,600 newly displaced children in Bangui. We need to rapidly increase our aid stocks to meet these new needs. We also need the UN and French peacekeeping forces to robustly manage this volatile situation with the full support of the government so that humanitarian workers can get back out to those who need our support. We need both security and supplies.”
He urged members of the European Parliament to reassess their support for the Central African Republic and to help ensure there was adequate funding for the short and longer term and diplomatic and peace-building support for the transitional government to ensure a successful election. Presidential and parliamentary elections planned for October 18 have had to be postponed due to the violence.
Failure to fully fund the current $613m appeal for the country is frustrating efforts to meet basic needs. Prior to the latest spike in violence only $277m (45.2%) had been pledged. With thousands more people displaced it is likely millions more will be needed. Aid agencies are just beginning to assess their needs from which would emerge new funding requirements.
Sangara said the Central African Republic had been looking forward to a planned visit by the Pope in November and the elections. However the progress that followed the sectarian violence in 2013 had now been reversed by months.
Deirdre de Burca, World Vision Brussels Director of Advocacy, said: “The Central African Republic is a forgotten emergency that threatens to worsen unless the international community maximises support for stabilisation, peace-building and humanitarian efforts. We need the EU and its member states to do all they can to bring the country back from the brink. Inadequate assistance is likely to lead to further instability and increased flows of refugees and displaced people. I am also deeply concerned about displaced children who have little to eat, are out of school, at risk of being forced into militias and are terrified of the violence.”
Deirdre de Burca, World Vision Brussels Director of Advocacy: +32-27418.69 (office), +32-483714948 (mobile)
Moussa Sangara, World Vision Response Manager for the Central African Republic: +236 75 42 29 68 (mobile)
As of (July 2015) EU humanitarian assistance (European Commission and EU Member States) in 2014/15 has totaled USD$240m
Current international funding:
Funding level: 45.2 %
Unmet requirement: 54.8%
Income: USD $277.3m
Funding Gap: USD$ 335.6m
World Vision is a Christian relief, development and advocacy organisation dedicated to working with children, families and communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. It works in close to 100 countries in most regions of the world including Latin America and the Caribbean, Europe, Africa, the Middle East and the Asia Pacific Region.
For more information please contact Ludovic Wahis, Policy and Communications Officer, World Vision Brussels & EU Representation, +32 (0) 2 274 18 67, Ludovic_Wahis@wvi.org