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Snapshot of child misery emerges from UNICEF missions in CAR

Renewed appeal for emergency funding as latest field visits reveal deepening misery

GENEVA/BANGUI, Central African Republic, 2 July 2013 – Hundreds of thousands of children across the Central African Republic (CAR) are without nutritious food, basic medicines, medical care and schooling as violence continues in the country, UNICEF said today.

“The continued conflict and climate of fear in CAR is hampering the delivery of humanitarian aid to woman and children in desperate need of humanitarian assistance,” said Souleymane Diabate, UNICEF CAR Representative. “The insecurity deprives children of their rights to go to school and to adequate living conditions including access to water, sanitation, and necessary health services should they fall ill.”

UNICEF’s emergency appeal for US$11.5 million, issued before the military takeover of the country, has more than doubled to US$32.4 million. Under US$9 million has so far been received.

UNICEF has brought in over 140 metric tonnes of emergency supplies since the outset of the crisis, and is working with partners to provide health, nutrition, protection, water and sanitation support wherever access permits.

A dramatic humanitarian snapshot has emerged following UNICEF-led assessments, which included surveys and interviews, in 13 of the country’s 16 prefectures in the centre and West. More assessments are planned as soon as possible in the East.

Key findings show:

(a) 51 per cent of respondents said there were no medicines at health facilities and hospitals; 29 per cent said health facilities were either closed or non-inexistent, and 24 per cent said there were no health workers present.
(b) 81 per cent said they had changed food sources and 54 per cent reported higher food prices and less availability of food in the market.
(c) 72 per cent of respondents said children were not attending school, and 22 per cent said schools were being used to shelter displaced people. Most schools have been closed since March.
(d) Information gathered from interviews revealed an increase in documented cases of gender-based violence, unaccompanied children, and recruitment of children into armed groups.

At least 206,000 people have been internally displaced and over 50,000 have sought shelter in neighbouring countries, mostly in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Even before the military takeover of the country, the Central African Republic was already one of the toughest places in the world for a child to survive, consistently ranking among the bottom 10 countries in development indicators.

“The recent assessments confirm that children are bearing the brunt of a vicious cycle of poverty, poor governance, conflict and political instability,” said Diabate.

For further information, please contact:

Linda Tom
Tel: +237 90077953

Martin Dawes
UNICEF Regional Office, Dakar



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