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UNICEF flies emergency aid to conflict-stricken Central African Republic

BANGUI, Central African Republic/DAKAR/GENEVA, 9 April 2013 – A special UNICEF-chartered flight carrying over 23 tonnes of essential drugs, obstetric supplies and water tanks arrived yesterday in conflict-ravaged Central African Republic capital city of Bangui, two weeks after the seizure of power by an armed rebellion. 

The consignment represents one of the first significant deliveries of relief supplies to the Central African Republic following recent weeks of insecurity and looting in which hospitals and health facilities incurred serious losses of medical supplies, equipment and furnishings. 

The emergency medical kits carried on this flight will be used to treat about 200,000 people affected by the conflict for the next three months. Twelve water tanks with distribution kits to secure water provision at the main hospitals and health centres in the capital Bangui and other areas as they become accessible were also on the flight. Secure arrangements have been made to ensure safe receipt and temporary storage of these life-saving items.

“This delivery represents a vital step in enabling children and the population at large to regain basic access to medical care,” said Souleymane Diabate, UNICEF’s Representative in Bangui. “However, this is only the tip of the iceberg in terms of needs. So much has been lost in the looting in a country where children already face some of the most difficult survival conditions in the world.” 

Since the coup d’etat on 24 March, UNICEF has delivered 81 tonnes of emergency supplies to partners, and specifically essential drugs and medical equipment for over 60,000 people to health partners operating at hospitals and health centres.

This is the second plane loaded with emergency supplies chartered by UNICEF this year. The first UNICEF flight brought over 14 tonnes of essential medicines and emergency supplies to Bangui on the 24 January.

UNICEF, other UN agencies and many NGOs operating in the country had their offices, vehicles and warehouses looted during the period of the collapse of the Bozize government and arrival of the Seleka rebel coalition in late March.

 “The supplies will be selectively distributed to health partners who have the capacity to undertake care and treatment of those most in need starting with main hospitals and health facilities,” Diabate added. “The new government has pledged its cooperation with these efforts.”

UNICEF now estimates that the entire population of the Central African Republic, about 4.6 million people including over 2.3 million children, is directly affected by the conflict due to the collapse of services and law and order. 

Only 13 per cent of the emergency funding needs out of US$172 million required for the humanitarian community have been received. It is anticipated that the needs will increase in light of the most recent developments. UNICEF estimates an immediate funding gap to meet urgent humanitarian needs over the next six months of over US$11 million.

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About UNICEF

UNICEF works in 190 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments. For more information about UNICEF and its work visit: www.unicef.org

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For more information, please contact:

Omar Habid, in Yaounde, Mobile : +237 78 10 94 98, ohabib@unicef.org

Laurent Duvillier, in Dakar, Mobile: +221 77 740 35 77 or +221 77 637 66 04, lduvillier@unicef.org

Marixie Mercado, in Geneva, Tel: +41 22 909 57 16, Cell: +41 79 756 77 03, mmercado@unicef.org

Kate Donovan, UNICEF New York, Tel:  + 212 326 7452 Cell + 1 917 378 2128 kdonovan@unicef.org


 

 

 

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