News / Africa

Thousands Flee Lawless Central African Republic

Armed fighters from the Seleka rebel alliance patrol the streets in pickup trucks to stop looting in Bangui, March 2013.
Armed fighters from the Seleka rebel alliance patrol the streets in pickup trucks to stop looting in Bangui, March 2013.
Lisa Schlein
The United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) estimates 206,000 people now are displaced inside the Central African Republic (CAR), while another 63,000 CAR nationals are refugees in four neighboring countries. This includes more than 4,000 refugees who have fled to southern Chad since mid-July. 
 
UNHCR spokesman Adrian Edwards said his agency is very concerned about the insecurity in the CAR.
 
"We have reports on a routine basis of human rights violations of a very serious nature. Reports of rapes, of shootings and other incidents," he said. "The nighttime situation in Bangui itself is one in which people in some cases are telling us they simply are not sleeping at night. They prefer to keep vigilance and on watch and trying to cope by sleeping during the day. So it remains an extremely worrisome situation and CAR retains its reputation as one of the world’s most dangerous countries."
 
According to UNHCR, two local U.N. staff were attacked and seriously wounded in the capital, Bangui, in the past few days, and the husband of one aid worker was killed.
 
In rural areas, agency officials said civilians are reportedly organizing vigilante groups to protect themselves from violence by Seleka rebels.
 
The rebels seized Bangui in March, forcing President Francois Bozize to flee the country. The transitional government has so far been unable to restore law and order, and the situation throughout the country remains largely chaotic and violent.
 
The UNHCR said humanitarian workers are having difficulty accessing many parts of the country, though it reports that its aid workers have improved access to three refugee camps in central and southern CAR, where more than 11,000 mainly Congolese and Sudanese refugees are living.
 
Although many areas remain too dangerous to enter, the U.N. Children’s Fund reports emergency teams have been working for the past few weeks to restart health services in two districts hard hit by the ongoing crisis.
 
UNICEF spokeswoman Marixie Mercado said this is the first time since fighting between the government and rebels erupted in December that U.N. aid workers have been present for an extended period in the conflict-ravaged interior of the country.
 
"Through emergency mobile teams, and elsewhere across the country, UNICEF is working with national authorities and partners to restart or rehabilitate basic services wherever security permits," she said. "Late last month we brought in over 50 metric tons of humanitarian supplies. A vaccination campaign that is being rolled out as access opens up has reached almost 200,000 children since May with measles and polio immunization, as well as Vitamin A and de-worming medication."
 
UNICEF research indicates that CAR has been one of the toughest places for a child to survive, even before the military takeover. UNICEF said conditions for children, if anything, are now worse.
 
The United Nations is appealing to international donors to support what it calls a forgotten crisis. It says the response to its appeal for $495 million to carry out humanitarian operations this year has been "terrible."
 
It says only 32 percent of the requested amount, or $62 million, has been received.

You May Like

Turbulent Transition Imperils Tunisia’s Arab Spring Gains

Critics say new anti-terrorism laws worsen Tunisia's situation while others put faith in country’s vibrant civil organizations, women’s movement More

Burundi’s Political Crisis May Become Humanitarian One

United Nations aid agencies issue warning as deadly violence sends tens of thousands fleeing More

Yemenis Adjust to Life Under Houthi Rule

Locals want warring parties to strike deal to stop bloodletting before deciding how country is governed More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threati
X
Greg Flakus
May 29, 2015 11:24 PM
Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threat

Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video New York's One World Trade Center Observatory Opens to Public

From New Jersey to Long Island, from Northern suburbs to the Atlantic Ocean, with all of New York City in-between.  That view became available to the public Friday as the One World Trade Center Observatory opened in New York -- atop the replacement for the buildings destroyed in the September 11, 2001, attacks.  VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports.
Video

Video Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

With inter-Korean relations deteriorating over the North’s nuclear program, past military provocations and human rights abuses, many Koreans still hold out hope for eventual peaceful re-unification. VOA’s Brian Padden visited a “unification fair” held this week in Seoul, where border communities promoted the benefits of increased cooperation.
Video

Video Purple Door Coffeeshop: Changing Lives One Cup at a Time

For a quarter of his life, Kevin Persons lived on the street. Today, he is working behind the counter of an espresso bar, serving coffee and working to transition off the streets and into a home. Paul Vargas reports for VOA.
Video

Video Modular Robot Getting Closer to Reality

A robot being developed at Carnegie Mellon University has evolved into a multi-legged modular mechanical snake, able to move over rugged surfaces and explore the surroundings. Scientists say such machines could someday help in search and rescue operations. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Shanghai Hosts Big Consumer Electronics Show

Electronic gadgets are a huge success in China, judging by the first Asian Consumer Electronics Show, held this week in Shanghai. Over the course of two days, more than 20,000 visitors watched, tested and played with useful and some less-useful electronic devices exhibited by about 200 manufacturers. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.

VOA Blogs