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.
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

Ukraine Purges Interior Ministry Leadership With Pro-Russian Ties

Interior Minister Avakov says 91 people 'in positions of leadership' have been fired, including 8 generals found to have links to past pro-Moscow governments More

US Airlines Point to Additional Problems of any Ebola Travel Ban

Airline officials note that even under travel ban, they may not be able to determine where passenger set out from, as there are no direct flights from Liberia, Guinea or Sierra Leone More

Nigerian President to Seek Another Term

Goodluck Jonathan has faced intense criticism for failing to stop Boko Haram 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.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid