Map of Central African Republic
Joseline, 26, who was displaced in Bossangoa by the violence, with her two children vaccinated. © UNICEF/NYHQ2012-1826/Bindra Joseline, 26, who was displaced in Bossangoa by the violence, with her two children vaccinated.

Central African Republic

UNICEF is requesting US$73.9 million to meet the humanitarian needs of children in CAR in 2015.

In 2015, UNICEF and partners plan for:
1.2 million

people access basic health services and medicines

3,500

children released from armed forces and groups and have access to alternative education opportunities

40,000

highly vulnerable households assisted with WASH interventions/ non-food items (Repid Response Mechanism)

2015 Requirements: US$73,900,000

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Snapshot

Total affected population: 4.8 million
Total affected children: 2.4 million

Total people to be reached in 2015: 2 million
Total children to be reached in 2015: 1.3 million

The situation in the Central African Republic (CAR) has developed from a silent emergency into a visible and complex humanitarian and protection crisis, as a result of a Seleka rebel offensive that began in December 2012 and a seizure of power in March 2013. Following this regime, the country’s political and military situation progressively worsened with new rebellions (anti-Balaka) fighting against Seleka. In January 2014, Central African Republic’s president of transition, Catherine Samba-Panza was appointed, following the resignation of the Seleka leader. Despite the efforts of international military forces in the country, the ensuing violence often targeted civilians, leaving thousands of people killed and wounded – including children being killed or maimed, and nearly half a million people are still displaced by the end of 2014. An estimated 2.7 million people will be in need of assistance in 2015 in CAR. There is a critical lack of basic services, including water and health care, nutrition and HIV/AIDS services with limited availability of health staff and medicines due to the breakdown of the health system. While a gradual return to school has begun in some parts of the country, almost 170,000 displaced children cannot access public schools. Insecurity has also affected trade, and has resulted in major population movements within CAR. Children in particular are bearing the brunt of the crisis. Insecurity and lawlessness throughout the country have led children to be displaced, separated, maimed, abducted, killed and raped. In this context, women and girls are increasingly vulnerable to sexual violence and other forms of GBV, and the number of children recruited into armed groups has risen to up to 10,000. In addition, 1.4 million people are food insecure, a situation that places a growing number of children at risk of malnutrition. The African Union (UA) mandate ended on 15 September and transferred into United Nations Mission for the Stabilization of CAR (MINUSCA).

Humanitarian Strategy

2015 Programme Targets

Nutrition

  • 22,700 children under 5 affected by SAM admitted for treatment
  • 21,000 women sensitized on infant and young child feeding practices

Health

  • 732,000 children under 5 immunized against measles
  • 565,000 children < 5 receive vitamin A
  • 1,171,400 people access basic health services and medicines

WASH

  • 450,000 affected people have access to sufficient safe, reliable water
  • 170,000 internally displaced persons and returnees have access to improved sanitation
  • 220,000 people in affected areas benefit from WASH NFI distribution

Child Protection

  • 3,500 children released from armed forces and groups and have access to alternative education opportunities
  • 3,000 women and children identified as survivors of sexual violence have access to holistic support
  • 100,000 displaced/vulnerable children participate in psychosocial activities

Education

  • 60,000 displaced children 3 to 17 years access relevant education opportunities
  • 300,000 children receive learning and playing materials

HIV and AIDS

  • 46,095 pregnant women receive HIV/AIDS counselling/testing
  • 3,569 born to mothers living with HIV receive appropriate treatment
  • 25,000 youth and adolescents receive HIV/AIDS counselling, are tested and referred where necessary

Rapid Response Mechanism

  • 40,000 highly vulnerable households assisted with WASH interventions/non-food items

Following the activation of its ‘Level 3’ corporate emergency procedure in December 2013, UNICEF strengthened its field presence in CAR and its capacity to accelerate the delivery of humanitarian assistance through surge deployments and the recruitment of programme and logistics staff, including bolstering dedicated cluster capacities. UNICEF is the cluster lead for water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), nutrition, and education, and for the child protection area of responsibility, but is also a major and active member of the health cluster alongside WHO. In addition to coordination with humanitarian partners, UNICEF will continue to engage with the Transitional National Authority to enable more effective humanitarian planning and accountability. Emergency programme emphasis will remain focussed on life-saving interventions to address vaccine-preventable and water-borne diseases, malaria, HIV, malnutrition, as well as on reducing the risks faced by displaced populations, including access to water and sanitation. The UNICEF-coordinated Rapid Response Mechanism (RRM) will provide non-food items as well as safe drinking water and improved sanitation facilities to at least 200,000 displaced persons. UNICEF will continue its efforts to identify and release all children associated with armed groups, and then facilitate the reunification with their families and their reintegration through the alternative education strategy for out-of-school children. UNICEF will also support functional and accurate monitoring and reporting mechanisms on grave child rights violations. UNICEF remains committed to enabling access to pre-primary and primary education, with emphasis on safety, the quality of teaching and improved learning. UNICEF programmes will also continue to favour transversal approaches that are sensitive to the needs of vulnerable populations.

Results from 2014

UNICEF appealed for US$81 million for 2014, and at mid-November 2014, approximately US$51 million was available of which US$9.5 million was carried forward from 2013. In 2014, UNICEF and partners focused on delivering life-saving interventions, including immunization campaigns and the provision of safe drinking water and essential medicines, while building capacity at the local level. With improved access to health facilities, UNICEF supported the implementation of a national measles campaign and vitamin-A supplementation, and deworming. Vaccine campaigns reached 234,956 children (88 per cent of the target) with measles vaccinations in November. Only 31 per cent and 25 per cent of targeted under-five children received de-worming medication and vitamin-A respectively, due to the security situation that did not allow the implementation of the phased integrated child health days. In addition, 1,382,788 people (69 per cent of target) in the affected areas have access to basic health services and medicines. UNICEF provided therapeutic supplies to 80 per cent of targeted severely malnourished children; and 63 per cent of targeted pregnant women received counselling on HIV/AIDS. Prevailing security conditions have been the major factor explaining the low achievements for the provision of ARV prophylaxis to children and pregnant women. However, with the progressive UN peacekeepers build-up, the security conditions are expected to improve in 2015. In 2014 UNICEF contributed to strengthening the country’s preparedness and response to cholera and Ebola virus Disease outbreaks.

Despite the volatile situation and the funding gap, UNICEF was still able to offer temporary learning spaces to 60 per cent out of 100,000 targeted children and provide learning and playing materials to 39 per cent out of the targeted 300,000 children aged 3 to 18 years. In WASH, 74 per cent of the targeted population was reached with improved access to basic sanitation services, and 59 per cent of the target was reached with improved sources of drinking water. Child protection actions were carried out in highly insecure environments, with strong results: 2,143 children were released from armed groups (out of a targeted 3,000) and nearly 65,000 children benefitted from recreational activities and psychosocial support. Also, 2,287 survivors of gender-based violence received holistic assistance, and 539 separated children were reunified with their families. The RRM conducted 45 multi-sectoral assessments and provided emergency WASH and non-food assistance to over 100,000 people in the most affected areas throughout the country. C4D campaigns sensitised a large number of people on peace, HIV, hygiene, health and sanitation.

Funding requirements

In line with the country’s inter-agency 2015 Strategic Response Plan, UNICEF is requesting US$73,900,000 to meet the humanitarian needs of children in CAR in 2015. Without sufficient funding, UNICEF will be unable to support the national response to the country’s ongoing complex humanitarian and protection crisis. Children in CAR critically need physical and psychosocial protection. Health, non-food items, WASH and education supplies are also urgently needed to uphold children’s rights to critical basic services. In such a volatile context with a high level of displacement due to violence and insecurity, rapid assessments and responses under the Rapid Response Mechanism are key to reducing vulnerabilities and reinforcing the humanitarian imperative.