* Any views expressed in this article are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters Foundation.
Geneva, 16 April 2014 - As instability and violence continue to plague the Central African Republic, UNHCR and 14 other humanitarian agencies are asking donors to fund emergency operations in support of the growing number of people who have been fleeing from CAR since December last year.
Nearly 200,000 Central Africans, third country nationals and returnees who escaped violence in CAR over the past four months are now struggling to restart their lives in the impoverished countries of Cameroon, Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Republic of Congo. Returnees and third country nationals are thousands of mostly Cameroonian, Chadian and Congolese people who had settled in CAR for generations before the current crisis forced them to return to countries to which they had lost ties, leaving them vulnerable and in need of humanitarian aid.
UNHCR and its partners anticipate the population of people uprooted by the CAR crisis in the region to rise to 362,200 by the end of 2014. They are therefore seeking $US274 million for the CAR Regional Response Plan to fund this year's operations.
"All the Agencies working in the region are dramatically underfunded," the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, António Guterres said in his presentation of the Central African Republic Regional Response Plan to delegates at the Palais des Nations in Geneva. "UNHCR is already spending three times the money that has been received or pledged for this emergency and still far less than the staggering needs of the people. This can not be sustained."
The money is needed to cover pressing needs for shelter, food, water and sanitation, health, education and basic needs. In addition, humanitarian agencies appealing for funds today, will be carrying out registration and building reception facilities and camps across the region.
The crisis in CAR started in December 2012 when Seleka rebels started an uprising in the North, ultimately toppling the regime in March 2013. The mostly Muslim Seleka fighters clashed with Christian youth organized under the anti-Balaka movement, which is now targeting Muslim communities in the capital Bangui and in the west of the country.
Communal violence has had a devastating effect on civilians of both communities, with over 600,000 people still displaced inside CAR. The mainly women and children fleeing atrocities in CAR are arriving in neighbouring countries deeply traumatized, many wounded by machete or gunshot, malnourished and exhausted from weeks of walking and hiding.
The partners for the CAR Regional Response Plan are: Avions sans frontiers, CARE International, Caritas, the UN Food & Agricultural Organization (FAO), International Medical Corps (IMC), the International Organization for Migration (IOM), Oxfam, PLAN International, Première Urgence-Aide Médicale Internationale, Save the Children International, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) UNHCR, UNICEF, the World Food Program (WFP) and the World Health Organization (WHO).
For more information on this subject, please contact:In Geneva, Ariane Rummery on mobile: +41 79 200 7617