Children in Central African Republic Suffering from Sexual Abuse, Disease and Recruitment into Armed Groups

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BANGUI, Central African Republic (August 12, 2013) — More than 100,000 children forced to flee their homes since the rebel takeover of the Central African Republic last March are facing the threat of sexual abuse, disease and recruitment into armed groups, says Save the Children.

Save the Children, announcing details of its emergency response in the Central African Republic, is also concerned about rising rates of malnutrition and malaria among displaced populations.

"Thousands of children's lives are at risk. Families are running out of food, and many are still hiding in the bush, afraid to return home. When they are not direct victims of violence, children have often witnessed their homes and schools being looted and their parents threatened or beaten", said Maria Wangechi, Save the Children's CAR Country Director.

"Moreover, healthcare workers have had to flee as hospitals and health centers have been ransacked. Children and their families need urgent humanitarian assistance. It is imperative that the international community allocates adequate resources and funding to a humanitarian crisis that in many respects has been largely ignored and that continues to escalate."

Save the Children teams are already on the ground providing lifesaving health and nutritional support to medical facilities in some of the areas worst affected by the crisis, as well as in the capital Bangui. As unrest continues, Save the Children has started providing psychosocial support to children through its child-friendly spaces, distributing much needed drugs and medical equipment to looted health centers, setting up mobile clinics to reach vulnerable families in remote villages, and launching healthcare programs for both new mothers and victims of sexual violence.

Save the Children is the leading independent organization for children in need, with programs in 120 countries, including the United States. We aim to inspire breakthroughs in the way the world treats children, and to achieve immediate and lasting change in their lives by improving their health, education and economic opportunities. In times of acute crisis, we mobilize rapid assistance to help children recover from the effects of war, conflict and natural disasters. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

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