News / Africa

CAR Emergency Food Supplies Very Low

Christian refugees living 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 majority. Christian refug
Christian refugees living 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 majority. Christian refug

Multimedia

Audio
  • Listen to De Capua report on food aid in Central African Republic

Joe DeCapua
The World Food Program said Thursday emergency supplies in Central African Republic are extremely low. The U.N. agency has not been able to replenish its food stocks due to fear of insecurity.


The last trucks carrying emergency food aid from Cameroon arrived on Monday -- 10 trucks with 300 tons of supplies, and not nearly enough to bring stocks up to where they should be. The WFP estimates it’s distributing aid to about 200-thousand people in Bangui, Bossangoa, Bouar and the surrounding villages.

“We still have the issue of food not coming through from the border. We’re hoping that there will be another convoy hopefully by the beginning of next week, but it’s still unclear. So, at the moment we are looking very seriously at the option of starting airlifts. Because our stocks are running really low this is the option that we are contemplating now,” said Alexis Masciarelli, WFP spokesman in the CAR capital.

But airlifts are much more expensive than truck convoys. And a lot of food aid is sitting in trucks at the Cameroonian border, 600 kilometers from Bangui.

“At the moment we have 43 trucks at the border with over a thousand tons of food,” he said.

Drivers are refusing to make the trip.

“That’s still the argument,” said Masciarelli, “That it’s too unsafe for drivers to go through basically on their own. And we’re trying to convince them that it is safe enough to go with an armed convoy.”

An armed escort was the only way drivers agreed to take part in the convoy on January 27th.

“We had two staff on the convoy that came on Monday. And they told me that the road is a succession of abandoned, looted villages – of check points from militia groups. So they managed to go through because they had an armed convoy organized by the African force that is here, the MISCA” he said.

African and French forces are trying to restore order and protect civilians and humanitarian workers. They’ll soon be joined by an EU force of several hundred. Armed Muslim and Christian groups have been battling since early December. About a million people have been internally displaced. Tens of thousands of others have fled to neighboring countries.

Asked when food supplies might run out of if trucks or planes do not arrive soon, Masciarelli said, “It’s difficult to tell you one, two or three days because it depends how much we give out everyday. But we really have only a few days left – maximum one week left.”

WFP officials at the Rome headquarters and in Africa will decide when an airlift would be conducted if truck convoys remained stalled at the Cameroonian border.  If some trucks do get through, the WFP could still opt to fly in some supplies to replenish stocks more quickly.

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs