News / Africa

UNICEF: CAR a Fragile Country

An anti-Balaka Christian militiaman mans a mobile checkpoint near Sibut, some 200kms (140 miles) northeast of Bangui, Central African Republic, Friday April 11, 2014. The U.N. Security Council voted unanimously Thursday to authorize a nearly 12,000-strong
An anti-Balaka Christian militiaman mans a mobile checkpoint near Sibut, some 200kms (140 miles) northeast of Bangui, Central African Republic, Friday April 11, 2014. The U.N. Security Council voted unanimously Thursday to authorize a nearly 12,000-strong

Multimedia

Audio
Joe DeCapua
UNICEF’s Representative to the Central African Republic said children have fallen victim to malnutrition and recruitment as child soldiers. He warned the conflict has growing regional implications.
 
Souleyman Diabaté was in New York this week briefing U.N. officials about the ongoing crisis. He said all of the country’s health and social services have collapsed.
 
“The situation in Central African Republic is not good at all. It is a fragile country, and the security situation is volatile and unpredictable. So working in this environment is kind of complicated,” he said.
 
A complicated situation grew even worse last December when Christian militias formed to combat attacks by mostly Muslim Seleka rebels. The inter-communal violence has left many civilians dead or maimed. Much of the country’s Muslim population has been displaced from the capital Bangui.
 
About 6,000 African and French peacekeepers are trying to maintain a semblance of order in a country too big for their numbers. The U.N. has authorized a mission to the country – MINUSCA -- consisting of 10,000 military and 1,800 police personnel. But it’ll be months before they arrive.
 
“We all know that the peacekeeping mission will be deployed in mid-September. But we all know that the nation won’t be fully operational In September. So between now and September there is a kind of vacuum that needs to be addressed,” he said.
 
Diabaté said in the meantime the current troops on the ground need to be better organized and better equipped. He said unless the world pays attention to CAR, neighboring countries
-- such as Chad, Cameroon, DRC and South Sudan -- could face long-term negative effects, including refugees and spillover fighting.
 
“We hear more about Syria. We hear more about [the] Philippines or Ukraine. But CAR is not getting enough resources to address the issue of the children in Central African Republic.”
 
Schools in the country have been closed for more than a year.
 
“Children are not going to school. So they are being recruited by the rebels, by the militia groups. Children are being recruited by force or sometimes they are joining because for them it is the only way to find food. It is the only way to find a way to take care of themselves,” he said.
 
The U.N. agency has managed to get some of the child soldiers released.  It’s set of goal of freeing 1,500 child soldiers this year.
 
Last year, UNICEF vaccinated 400,000 children in CAR against measles, yellow fever and polio. The target is to immunize more than 700,000 children against measles in 2014.
 
Diabaté  said, “We have also the case of malnourished children. We have a lot of malnourished children due to the crisis. Because when the crisis happened families were living in the bush. In the pediatric hospital of Bangui – the sole pediatric hospital we have for the entire country – the number of malnourished children has tripled.”
 
Diabaté said UNICEF has increased the number of personnel in the country from 70 to 200. They have access, he said, to most of the country, except the far north.
 
“Central African Republic is a donor orphan country. We have launched the humanitarian action for children for $81-million. But we have mobilized only 20-percent. So, there is a gap, which needs to be filled up.”
 
Diabaté said in briefing U.N. officials about the crisis he is echoing the voices of the children of CAR.

You May Like

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies More

Judge Declares Washington DC Ban on Public Handguns Unconstitutional

Ruling overturns capital city's prohibition on carrying guns in pubic More

Pricey Hepatitis C Drug Draws Criticism

Activists are using the International AIDS Conference to criticize drug companies for charging high prices for life-saving therapies More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid