News / Africa

WFP Chief Calls for Humanitarian Intervention in CAR

Multimedia

Audio
Kim Lewis
The executive director of the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) urges the international community to address the disaster in the Central African Republic (CAR) where hundreds of thousands have fled violence and instability to neighboring Cameroon, Chad and the Democratic Republic of Congo.  
 
“It is a crisis situation,” says Ertharin Cousin of WFP, who recently returned from tours of the CAR and Cameroon. The WFP executive director says the influx of refugees is creating a regional crisis because of food shortages and lack of resources.
 
She calls the conditions in CAR a level-three humanitarian disaster, the most serious that the UN seeks to address, based on the large number of victims.
 
Cousin estimates more than 800,000 are internally displaced or have fled CAR as refugees. The WFP relief teams have provided food aid to about 300,000 in the last four months, but must now increase funding to feed at least a million needy, she says.
 
“And the most challenging issue is that we do not have the resources to support the purchase of commodities …” says Cousin.
 
To make matters worse the rains have started early, making distribution more difficult and more costly.
 
“In the Central African Republic where you have no all-weather roads, when the rains begin, it means that we can no longer distribute by road,” Cousin says. It requires us to distribute by air, which will even escalate the cost for the distribution of food to the population in need.”
 
During her recent visit, Cousin witnessed the alarming poor condition of the women and children who had survived the violence. Many were suffering from severe injuries from traumatic attacks.

“I sat with a woman who had her collar bone broken, who had open sores on her leg from a machete attack that she had been a victim of,” she says.  “We saw children who had open sores and any number of other injuries that had been a part of either fleeing the violence, or being victims of violent attacks.” Children showed evidence of malnutrition.
 
The deteriorating situation in the CAR is spilling over into neighboring countries stretched to their limit in meeting refugee needs.
 
Cousin says the international community must step up to help CAR to end the violence and act before the rains exacerbate the precarious food situation. 
 
She is excited to see that private and corporate donors are responding to her call for action through their campaign, where donors are encouraged to match the $1-million donation made by WFP ambassador Howard Buffett.
 
“We’ve started a campaign called “The Time is Now,” to encourage others to provide us with individual and corporate donor contributions to meet that match of a million dollars, and the response has been very positive so far.”

You May Like

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs