GENEVA - A new report finds nearly half of all people in the Central African Republic are suffering acute food shortages. The latest assessment by the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification, a joint effort by eight U.N. and International non-governmental organizations, finds more than 1.8 million people in C.A.R. are facing an emergency food crisis.
Civil war in the Central African Republic erupted in December 2013 and continues to take a heavy toll on its people. The country is in the midst of its so-called lean season, which goes from May to August.
This is the period between harvests when people have depleted their food stocks and hunger is particularly acute. The World Food Program reports nearly 2 million people do not know where their next meal is coming from during this period.
WFP spokesman Herve Verhoosel says, unfortunately, the hunger crisis will not be over when the lean season comes to an end.
“Nearly 1.35 million people—almost 30 percent of the population analyzed—will be in severe acute food insecurity including nearly 275,000 people in emergency during the harvest period, meaning September and October,” Verhoosel says.
The United Nations reports more than a half million refugees have fled to neighboring countries to escape the ravages of war. Nearly 700,000 people remain displaced within the C.A.R.
The signing of a peace agreement in the capital Bangui in February gave rise to hopes the crisis in the country would soon be at an end. Security conditions remain volatile, however, and attacks are continuing with increased ferocity in several parts of the country where armed groups that did not sign on to the agreement are in control.
Ongoing insecurity is hampering humanitarian operations and making it difficult, if not impossible, to provide food and other crucial aid to the civilians caught in the midst of this violence.
The World Food Program assists about 600,000 people in the country every month. Verhoosel says WFP and its partners are trying to reach more people in urgent need of aid.
He says internally displaced people and refugees are the most vulnerable. He says they are totally dependent upon international assistance to meet their food and nutritional needs.