Crisis in Central African Republic
The Central African Republic is one of the toughest places in the world to be a child.
Crisis overview: What’s happening in Central African Republic?
In December 2013, Bangui, the capital of Central African Republic, descended into a brutal bloodbath as the already fragile state was further weakened. Early signs of recovery and rebuilding soon gave way to a dramatic resurgence in fighting, with armed groups frequently targeting civilians rather than each other.
Despite a February 2019 peace agreement signed between the Government and 14 armed groups, the security situation in the country remains precarious. In the run-up to and after the general elections of December 2020, armed conflict between Government forces and a coalition of armed groups in several towns forced an estimated 168,000 children and their families to flee their homes.
Although insecurity and conflict-related violence have somewhat decreased since the peak of the 2021 post-election crisis, the humanitarian situation in the Central African Republic remains critical and volatile, and humanitarian needs remain high. Persistent fuel shortages, exacerbated by the war in Ukraine, along with sharp increases in food prices, are further worsening an already precarious situation for the 3.1 million people who will need of humanitarian assistance in 2023, including 1.4 million children.
Read UNICEF’s 2023 humanitarian appeal for Central African Republic here
How are children being affected?
The Central African Republic is one of the toughest places in the world to be a child. Two thirds of the country’s children don’t attend school regularly or at all. An estimated 944,000 children need protection from the psychosocial impact of conflict and the risk of sexual violence among other protection risks.
Meanwhile, almost 60 per cent of the population are expected to lack access to water and sanitation in 2023, a sharp increase due to conflict-related destruction of infrastructure. Epidemics, including measles, are expected to remain prevalent in 2023.
More than anything, though, the children of Central African Republic desperately need security. The places they go for protection and support – including schools, hospitals and places of worship – are under attack by the armed groups. Hundreds of schools are non-operational as a result of fighting, leaving half the country’s children out of school – and even more vulnerable to exploitation and violence.
What is UNICEF doing to help children in Central African Republic?
Despite challenging security and access conditions, UNICEF and partners have continued to respond wherever possible. UNICEF is on the ground supporting efforts to release children from armed groups; reunifying separated or unaccompanied children with their families; providing appropriate psychosocial support to children affected by conflict; helping mobilize communities for prevention of COVID-19; addressing preventable childhood illnesses, malaria, HIV and malnutrition; developing sustainable water, sanitation and hygiene infrastructure in underserved areas; and helping children access safe learning spaces and quality education.
Central African Republic snapshot
What UNICEF is doing in Central African Republic
UNICEF is prioritizing child-centred, life-saving interventions and risk reduction to support displaced, returning and host community people in the Central African Republic who have been impacted by the enduring crisis, recurring epidemics and natural disasters.
The protection needs of children are central to UNICEF's humanitarian response in the Central African Republic. UNICEF is supporting efforts to release children from armed groups; reunify separated or unaccompanied children with their families; and provide appropriate psychosocial support to children affected by conflict.
UNICEF is supporting the Government to respond to COVID-19, including by providing support for the safe return of children to school, particularly in crisis-affected areas; mobilizing communities for prevention; developing sustainable water, sanitation and hygiene infrastructure in underserved areas; and mitigating the pandemic’s impact on the most vulnerable children.
Results for children in Central African Republic