News / Africa

Food Distribution Increases in CAR

Christian refugees create a home for themselves in makeshift shelters near the airport in Bangui, Central African Republic, Tuesday Jan. 28, 2014, as they try to escape from the deepening divisions between the country's Muslim minority and Christian major
Christian refugees create a home for themselves in makeshift shelters near the airport in Bangui, Central African Republic, Tuesday Jan. 28, 2014, as they try to escape from the deepening divisions between the country's Muslim minority and Christian major

Multimedia

Audio
Joe DeCapua
The World Food Program says emergency food supplies are reaching more people in Central African Republic. However, the main supply road from Cameroon to CAR’s capital Bangui remains insecure. Armed groups frequently have targeted civilians based on their religion.


Since mid-February, the World Food Program has bolstered its food stocks using airlifts. Those airlifts, though, are due to end this week. They were needed because truck convoys from Cameroon were too few – and carried too little – to replenish rapidly dwindling supplies.

WFP’s Alexis Masciarelli said progress is being made.

“We are increasing our presence across the country. In the last few weeks we’ve been distributing to new locations, especially in the north of the country, including rural areas. And that’s very important for us because it means that we go and bring assistance to a lot of people, who had fled the violence, who had gone to the bush, and for several weeks [had] only been eating roots and leaves. And now they try and go back to their homes and they realize that there’s been a lot of destruction. A lot of their houses have been looted, burned. So, we are there to help them to rebuild their lives,” he said.

The airlifts have brought in about 1,500 tons of rice from neighboring countries.

Truck drivers remain wary about making the 600 kilometer trip from Cameroon to Bangui. They want an armed escort.

“We’ve had trucks coming in the country thanks to escorts from the African force that is based here. Especially, the Rwandan contingent has been very helpful in helping trucks come through the road that was too insecure,” he said.

But Masciarelli said that food deliveries are not just about meeting immediate needs.

“Slowly, it’s coming in,” he said, “It’s not enough yet because what is important at the moment is not just to distribute food immediately for the people in need, but also to start prepositioning food stocks in locations all across the country before the rainy season starts next month, which will have made all the roads very difficult to pass.”

While the WFP is able to distribute in more places in CAR, there’s a problem at Bangui airport – where at one point about 100-thousand people had fled for safety.

“The conditions at the airport are still obviously quite difficult. We have had to suspend operations there because there’s been a lot of insecurity around the airport camp. So, we’ve been, in fact, the last week or so distributing in other areas of Bangui where there are also a lot of people displaced – around churches, around mosques, as well. We’ve been distributing over the last week to over 80,000 people outside the main airport camp,” he said.

The WFP spokesman said it’s difficult to determine how many people remain at the airport site. There’s a constant ebb and flow depending on the level of insecurity in the area – but the figure is in the thousands.

You May Like

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

There is growing uncertainty over whether West’s response to ISIS is adequate More

China Crackdown on Dual Citizens Causes Concern

New policy encourages reporting people who obtain citizenship in another country, but retain Chinese citizenship; move spurs sharp debate More

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

Losing ground to Islamic State fighters, Syria's government says it is ready to cooperate with international community More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?i
X
Henry Ridgwell
August 29, 2014 12:26 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Pachyderms Play Polo to Raise Money for Elephants

Polo, the ancient team competition typically played on horseback, is known as the “sport of kings.” However, the royal version for one annual event in Thailand swaps the horse for the kingdom’s national symbol - the elephant. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Samut Prakan reports that the King’s Cup Elephant Polo tournament is all for a good cause.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video America's Most Popular Artworks Displayed in Public Places

Public places in cities across America were turned into open-air art galleries in August. Pictures of the nation’s most popular artworks were displayed on billboards, bus shelters, subway platforms and more. The idea behind “Art Everywhere,” a collaborative campaign by five major museums is to allow more people to enjoy art and learn about the country’s culture and history. Faiza Elmasry has more.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. Shaikh Azizur Rahman reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid