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

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
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.

AppleAndroid