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UN Says Humanitarian Crisis is Spiraling in CAR

Two Million in Need of Humanitarian Assistance in CAR
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Two Million in Need of Humanitarian Assistance in CAR

The United Nations says an estimated two million people are in need of humanitarian assistance in the Central African Republic , where political instability led to deadly clashes that forced thousands of people to flee from their homes.

The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs says about one million people do not have enough food.

Earlier this week, the U.N. refugee agency said it had deployed additional emergency teams to CAR. The agency said violence in the capital, Bangui, had forced more than 200,000 people to flee from their homes during the past two weeks.

French and African intervention forces have been trying to quell the CAR unrest. The country descended into chaos in March after mostly Muslim rebels, known as Seleka, overthrew president Francois Bozize.

Months of looting and killing have brought retaliation by Bozize allies and Christian militias, known as anti-balaka.

VOA correspondent Idrisse Fall in Bangui says thousands of people are in dire straits after seeking refugee at the airport, which is under French protection.

"No mattress. No food. No nothing," Fall reported. "No water. No electricity. Nothing. No latrine. No toilet. It is very, very - I can not describe what I saw there."

Overall, Bangui is quiet, Fall said.

"The French are here, the soldiers. There is not a lot of fighting," he said. "The anti-Balaka are here. The Seleka are here but there is not a lot of fighting going on. The streets are empty. You do not see a lot of people."

In a VOA interview , United States special envoy David Brown said the U.S. has provided CAR with a considerable amount of humanitarian assistance, much of it food aid.

"In 2013, that aid has exceeded to $25 million," brown noted. " In addition, there was also an announcement of $6.2 million in refugee assistance in September and we expect in 2014 there will be a very considerable increase in this humanitarian assistance."

Relief organizations say recent fighting in the capital and elsewhere has left more than 600 people dead.