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 Obama to Send 3,000 Troops to Liberia in Ebola Fight

At Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, President says US will take leadership role for a global response to deadly Ebola virus that is ravaging West Africa More

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

Muslims in Kunming say that they condemn the violence, it is not a reflection of the true beliefs of their faith More

Humanitarian Aid, Equipment Blocked in Cameroon

Move is seen as a developing supply crisis in West Africa More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Communityi
X
September 16, 2014 2:06 PM
Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Americans' Reaction Mixed on Obama Strategy for Islamic State Militants

President Barack Obama’s televised speech on how the United States plans to “degrade and destroy” the group known as the Islamic State reached a prime-time audience of millions. And it came as Americans appear more willing to embrace a bolder, tougher approach to foreign policy. VOA producer Katherine Gypson and reporter Jeff Seldin have this report from Washington.
Video

Video Authorities Allege LA Fashion Industry-Cartel Ties

U.S. officials say they have broken up crime rings that funneled tens of millions of dollars from Mexican drug cartels through fashion businesses in Los Angeles. Mike O'Sullivan reports that authorities announced nine arrests, as 1,000 law enforcement agents fanned out through the city on Wednesday.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid