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Map of Central African Republic
UNICEF photo: three children (in a settlement for displaced persons) play with a tire © UNICEF Central African Republic/2018/Boris Matous Children at the Séko settlement for internally displaced persons, following attacks by l'Union pour la Paix en Centrafrique armed group on villages along the Bambari-Ippy axis, in March 2018.

Central African Republic

In 2019, UNICEF and partners plan for:
30,570

children aged 6 to 59 months with SAM admitted for therapeutic care

82,068

people and children under 5 years in sites for internally displaced persons and enclaves with access to essential health services and medicines

3,000

children released from armed forces or groups benefiting from socioeconomic reintegration and case management support

2019 requirements: US$59,000,000

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Snapshot

Total people in need: 2.9 million11
Total children (<18) in need: 1.5 million12

Total people to be reached: 1 million13
Total children to be reached: 824,00014

The Central African Republic is facing one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world, given the proportion of the population in need of assistance.1 With over 620,000 internally displaced people2 and 570,000 refugees,3 one in five Central Africans has fled conflict, leaving both home and land behind. In 2019, an estimated 2.9 million people, including 1.5 million children —two out of every three children in the country—will require humanitarian assistance, representing a 16 per cent increase over 2018.4 This rise in needs is due to the increasing number of conflict situations, diminishing humanitarian funding and constrained humanitarian access. Of the 1.9 million people without access to safe water, 950,000 are children, and basic water and sanitation standards are not being met in many sites for displaced persons.5 Less than half of all children are immunized.6 In 2019, an estimated 38,000 children under 5 years will suffer from severe acute malnutrition (SAM).7 Since 2014, some 13,000 children in the Central African Republic, including 3,000 girls, have been released from armed groups.8 Due to lack of funding, 30 per cent of these children have yet to receive reintegration assistance. Over 30 percent of the country’s schools are closed due to conflict.9

Humanitarian strategy

2019 programme targets

Nutrition

  • 30,570 children aged 6 to 59 months with SAM admitted for therapeutic care
  • 57,580 caregivers reached with lifesaving messages and other engagement activities to promote health and nutrition services

Health

  • 700,000 children under 5 years vaccinated against measles
  • 82,068 people and children under 5 years in sites for internally displaced persons and enclaves with access to essential health services and medicines

WASH

  • 400,000 crisis-affected people accessing safe water
  • 150,000 crisis-affected people accessing gender-sensitive sanitation facilities

Child protection

  • 110,000 children reached with psychosocial support, including access to child-friendly spaces
  • 3,000 children released from armed forces or groups benefiting from socioeconomic reintegration and case management support

Education

  • 120,000 boys and girls aged 3 to 17 years in crisis-affected areas accessing education
  • 442,500 children received learning materials

RRM

  • 250,000 acutely vulnerable people rapidly provided with essential household items after a shock
  • 150,000 affected people received appropriate WASH interventions after a shock

Working with partners based in the most affected areas, and using pre-positioned essential supplies, UNICEF will provide lifesaving assistance and services to children affected by the conflict in the Central African Republic and support their recovery. UNICEF will work through the Rapid Response Mechanism (RRM) to assess new crises and deliver essential household items and water and sanitation assistance, while coordinating with other actors to provide complementary support. Nutrition interventions will target children under 5 years with SAM. Crisis-affected children will receive quality education in safe learning environments. UNICEF will focus on the protection needs of children, including their release from armed groups, reunification with their families and the provision of psychosocial support, while scaling up programming addressing sexual exploitation and abuse. UNICEF will maintain gender-sensitive water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) facilities and services on settlements for displaced people across the country, and improve immunization rates in crisis-affected areas. Activities will support the resilience of children and their communities, including through cash-based approaches in emergency situations, and strong accountability to affected populations. UNICEF will continue to lead the nutrition, WASH and education clusters and the child protection sub-cluster, and work with line ministries to strengthen government capacities for emergency response.

Results from 2018

As of 31 October 2018, UNICEF had US$30.7 million available against the US$56.5 million appeal (54 per cent funded).10 In 2018, UNICEF and partners delivered life-saving interventions to affected populations. Over 25,500 children under 5 years were treated for SAM and 90 per cent recovered. More than 82,000 internally displaced people living on sites, most of them children, gained access to safe water, and 485,000 children were vaccinated against polio, including in crisis-affected areas. Some 102,000 displaced and host community children benefited from psychosocial support in child-friendly spaces and 804 children (230 girls) were released from armed groups and received interim care. Some 69,700 children, most of them internally displaced, gained access to education in protective learning environments. The RRM conducted 58 interventions in remote and insecure areas newly affected by conflict-related population movements. The RRM reached 208,000 people with essential nonfood items and 136,000 people with emergency WASH support. RRM targets were exceeded thanks to robust donor support. Overall, however, lack of funding and increasingly constrained humanitarian access led to low achievement against some of the targets. Government capacity was reinforced through UNICEF leadership of the WASH and education clusters and the child protection sub-cluster, co-led with the Government.

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Funding requirements

In line with the country level multi-year inter-agency Humanitarian Response Plan (2017-2019), UNICEF is requesting US$59 million to meet the humanitarian needs of children in the Central African Republic. Without sufficient and timely funding, UNICEF will be unable to support the national response to the country’s continuing and deepening crisis and provide critical life-saving services to conflict-affected displaced people, returnees and host communities. UNICEF also requires funding to treat children with SAM and provide reintegration support to children released from armed forces and groups.

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1 Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, ‘Central African Republic: 2019 Humanitarian Response Plan’ (draft), OCHA, 2018. The Humanitarian Response Plan document was not finalized/published at the time of writing this appeal. The appeal will be updated to be aligned with the published Humanitarian Response Plan, once finalized.
2 Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), October 2018.
3 United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), October 2018.
4 Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, ‘Central African Republic: 2019 Humanitarian Needs Overview’ (draft), OCHA, 2018. The Humanitarian Needs Overview document was not finalized/published at the time of writing this appeal. The appeal will be updated to be aligned with the published Humanitarian Needs Overview, once finalized.
5 Only 64 per cent of internally displaced persons have sufficient access to water and only 77 per cent have adequate access to sanitation. ‘Central African Republic: 2019 Humanitarian Needs Overview’ (draft).
6 Joint study conducted by the National Institute of Statistics and the Central African Republic Ministry of Public Health, December 2016.
7 ‘Central African Republic: 2019 Humanitarian Needs Overview’ (draft).
8 ‘Central African Republic: 2019 Humanitarian Needs Overview’ (draft). See also United Nations Children’s Fund, ‘Crisis in the Central African Republic’, UNICEF Child Alert, November 2018, p. 14.
9 ‘Central African Republic: 2019 Humanitarian Needs Overview’ (draft).
10 Available funds include US$25.8 million raised against the current appeal and US$4.9 million carried forward from the previous year.
11 ‘Central African Republic: 2019 Humanitarian Response Plan’ (draft).
12 Ibid.
13 The actual total to be reached is 1.02 million, corresponding to 700,000 children under 5 years to be vaccinated against measles and 320,000 adults and children older than 5 years to be provided with access to safe water.
14 This includes UNICEF’s estimate of the number of children under 5 years targeted by the national measles campaign living in crisis-affected areas, and the estimated number of children older than 5 years to be provided with access to safe water.
15 The 2019 budget requirement is higher than the 2018 requirement due to the planned introduction of cash transfers in support of SAM treatment, and the strengthening of nutrition surveillance and early warning.