News / Africa

Relief Workers Scaling Up Efforts to Reach Displaced in CAR

People wait to receive food and supplies from an aid distribution point set up inside a makeshift camp housing an estimated 100,000 displaced people, at Mpoko Airport in Bangui, Central African Republic, Jan. 7, 2014.
People wait to receive food and supplies from an aid distribution point set up inside a makeshift camp housing an estimated 100,000 displaced people, at Mpoko Airport in Bangui, Central African Republic, Jan. 7, 2014.
TEXT SIZE - +
Pamela Dockins
The World Food Program and the U.N. refugee agency have launched an effort to scale up emergency food distribution to thousands of displaced people in the Central African Republic.  Reporter Nick Long is at the distribution site, near the airport in the capital, Bangui.

For weeks, an estimated 100,000 civilians have been camping out near the Bangui airport, seeking refuge from violence.

Reporter Nick Long tells VOA that on Tuesday, workers with the UNHCR and the World Food Program began what they hope will be ten days of food distribution to civilians.

Long said it was something that relief workers have been attempting to do since violence erupted in the CAR in early December.

"They have been trying since then to get food to these people but each time they've tried -- they've tried several times -- the crowd got out of control, there was violence.  They had to call it off," he said.

Long said relief workers have also stepped up efforts to get aid to civilians in more remote regions, north of the capital.

"What often happens is people flee their villages, which are usually close to roads, because the armed men that they are afraid of will be coming probably by vehicles, and they set up makeshift settlements in the bush and they try to survive there, where they may not have clean water and they certainly won't have much in the way of health facilities," he said.

The CAR has endured ten months of widespread chaos and violence since mostly Muslim Seleka rebels overthrew President Francois Bozize last March.  Much of the fighting since then has been between ex-Seleka rebels and Christian militias known as anti-balaka.

France and the African Union sent additional peacekeepers after communal violence broke out in Bangui in early December.  But, the unrest has continued.

Jeffrey Feltman, the U.N.'s undersecretary-general for political affairs, has warned that continued unrest between Muslims and Christians could easily spiral into all-out sectarian conflict.

"Several countries including Cameroon, Chad, Cote d'Ivoire, Mali, Niger, Nigeria and Senegal repatriated tens of thousands of their citizens, the vast majority of whom are Muslims.  This is the first time in the history of the CAR that people, on account of their religion, have felt obliged to leave the country for fear of their lives," said Feltman.

The CAR's humanitarian situation has been deteriorating at an alarming rate.  Feltman says more than half of the country's 4.4 million people are in need of assistance.

You May Like

Photogallery Pope's Easter Prayer: Peace in Ukraine, Syria

Pontiff also calls for end to terrorist acts in Nigeria, violence in Iraq, and success in peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians More

Abdullah Holds Lead in Afghan Presidential Election

Country's Election Commission says that with half of the ballots counted, former FM remains in the lead with 44 percent of the vote More

Russia-Ukraine Crisis Could Trigger Cyber War

As tensions between Kyiv and Moscow escalate, so too has frequency of online attacks targeting government, news and financial sites More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
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