News / Africa

First Flight of Emergency Relief Reaches CAR

Armed Seleka rebel alliance fighters patrol streets in pickup trucks to stop looting, Bangui, Central African Republic, March 26, 2013.
Armed Seleka rebel alliance fighters patrol streets in pickup trucks to stop looting, Bangui, Central African Republic, March 26, 2013.
TEXT SIZE - +
Lisa Schlein
— The United Nations Children’s Fund reports it has flown 23 tons of emergency aid to the conflict-stricken Central African Republic.  UNICEF says this is the first significant delivery of relief supplies to the CAR following recent weeks of insecurity and looting in the country. 

The special UNICEF-chartered flight reached the CAR capital, Bangui, on Sunday, two weeks after the rebel coalition Seleka seized power in this landlocked and conflict-ravaged country.

The overthrow of the previous president, Francois Bozize, who has fled to neighboring Cameroon, ushered in a period of great insecurity and looting.  UNICEF spokeswoman Marixie Mercado says that late last month more than 10 tons of emergency materials were looted from the warehouses of UNICEF, other U.N. agencies and non-governmental organizations.

“Initial assessments in the Bangui area show that hospitals and health centers have been totally looted and in some cases vandalized," she said. "Sanitation equipment has also been looted and garbage has not been collected in the past two weeks.  We now estimate that some 650,000 children are shut out of school.  We fear the previous estimate of 13,500 children who would suffer from life-threatening malnutrition this year will increase.  UNICEF has verified cases of child rights abuses by all parties to the conflict, including recruitment into armed forces and groups, gender-based violence and denial of humanitarian access.” 

UNICEF estimates the entire population of the CAR - about 4.6 million people - is directly affected by the conflict due to the collapse of services and law and order.

The UNICEF supplies flown into Bangui include emergency medical kits to treat about 200,000 people.  While medical and other supplies will be used to help adults in need, Mercado says aid is mainly directed toward children, who constitute more than half of the population.

“This delivery of supplies includes, for example, obstetric supplies for safe deliveries, a lot of water and water storage equipment so that children can drink safe water because they, of course, are the most vulnerable to illness caused by dirty water.  We have brought in enormous amounts of therapeutic supplies for severely malnourished children,” she said. 

Following the past few chaotic weeks, UNICEF reports signs of normalcy are beginning to appear in Bangui.  But, it hastens to add, the situation there remains precarious. 

The agency says the situation in the more remote northeastern part of the country is more difficult and dangerous.  It says 1.2 million people who live there have been cut off from basic services for over four months.

You May Like

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends More

Turkish Law Gives Spy Agency Controversial Powers

Parliament approves legislation to bolster powers of intelligence service, which government claims is necessary to modernize and deal with new threats Turkey faces More

Video Face of American Farmer Changing

Average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Face of American Farmer is Changingi
X
Mike Osborne
April 18, 2014
The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid