News / Africa

Humanitarian Aid to CAR, South Sudan Woefully Underfunded

A family displaced by inter-communal violence in the country sit near a plane in a camp for displaced persons at Bangui M'Poko International Airport February 20, 2014
A family displaced by inter-communal violence in the country sit near a plane in a camp for displaced persons at Bangui M'Poko International Airport February 20, 2014
Lisa Schlein
U.N. humanitarian agencies are calling for immediate contributions to fund emergency aid in the Central African Republic and South Sudan.  The agencies say desperate millions in these war-torn countries are suffering from lack of food, medical care and other basic needs because appeals are going unheeded. 

The United Nations said the crises in South Sudan and the Central African Republic comprised one of the biggest refugee and internal displacement situations seen in Africa in recent years. 

Despite multiple and desperate pleas for support from international donors, U.N. humanitarian appeals launched in December remain woefully underfunded.  To date, the U.N. has received less than one-sixth of its $552 million appeal for CAR and only about one-fifth of its $1.27 billion appeal for South Sudan.

The spokeswoman for the U.N. refugee agency, Melissa Fleming, told VOA it was a struggle to provide even the minimum amount of aid needed because the money to do so was simply not there. 

“We are appealing for money because with money we can provide a tremendous amount of aid to people we can reach.  We can help refugees in particular, but also many parts of South Sudan and also inside CAR are accessible to us and the more funding we have, and I speak for all of our partners, the more we are able to do to help these people… And we are seeing signs of really desperate people in terrible states of health leaving both South Sudan and CAR,” she said. 

South Sudanese girls displaced by the fighting collect their laundry from a barbed wire in a camp for displaced persons in the UNMISS compound in Tongping in Juba, Feb. 19, 2014.South Sudanese girls displaced by the fighting collect their laundry from a barbed wire in a camp for displaced persons in the UNMISS compound in Tongping in Juba, Feb. 19, 2014.
x
South Sudanese girls displaced by the fighting collect their laundry from a barbed wire in a camp for displaced persons in the UNMISS compound in Tongping in Juba, Feb. 19, 2014.
South Sudanese girls displaced by the fighting collect their laundry from a barbed wire in a camp for displaced persons in the UNMISS compound in Tongping in Juba, Feb. 19, 2014.
The United Nations estimates more than 739,000 people are internally displaced in South Sudan and nearly 200,000 others have fled as refugees to neighboring countries. 

Currently, U.N. figures put the number of internally displaced in the CAR at more than 700,000 and the number of refugees at more than 290,000. 

Fleming said many of the CAR refugees were struggling with illness and disease.

“We are really noticing a trend in all refugees that they are in very poor physical shape.  Some are suffering from malaria, diarrhea, respiratory infections.  Many have been hiding in the bush for up to even one year in the Central African Republic, which has significantly impacted their state of health.  Also, very disturbingly, many children under the age of five are showing varying degrees of malnourishment,” she said. 

The spokeswoman said that food shortages in South Sudan have propelled increasing numbers of people to walk long distances in search of asylum in Ethiopia. They arrive in terrible condition. She says more than a fourth of all refugee children are suffering from acute or severe acute malnutrition.

UNHCR’s Fleming said the countries of refuge, such as Chad, Cameroon and Ethiopia, were incapable of caring for the growing number of people crossing their borders.

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