Central African Republic

Where We Work - Central African Republic

Crisis in the Central African Republic

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In December 2013, extreme violence rippled through the Central African Republic (CAR), forcing hundreds of thousands of people to leave their homes in search of refuge, and overwhelming the already weak State’s capacity to respond. The violence caused deep social fractures and huge rifts between communities –rifts which were relatively new to the country and left many communities traumatised. Ten months later, the country remains in the grip of a major humanitarian crisis affecting 2.5 million people in CAR itself (over half of the population), half of them children. Half a million people remain displaced within the country, while more than 400,000 people have sought refuge in neighboring States.

As the UN Peacekeeping Force MINUSCA officially comes into force, hopes are high that it will start to bring about real change, improve security and the protection of civilians, and begin the long process of healing the fractures caused by the violence. Its mandate –the most innovative and ambitious of any peacekeeping mandate yet– goes beyond stabilising the country and disarming factions, and includes protecting human rights, engaging and strengthening civil society to find long-term solutions, while supporting the Government to restore vital services.

There is a lot of work to do, and it is crucial that the international community, the CAR Government and all institutions provide the necessary support and resources to this mission if it is to succeed. Moreover, beyond MINUSCA, underfunding is undermining humanitarian operations in general. Hundreds of thousands of people have lost everything, yet agencies are short of stocks to respond to their essential needs. At this crucial juncture, we cannot let this become a forgotten crisis and must commit to ensure the children and people of CAR can have a future they deserve.

Our Results in Central African Republic

  • We kept 42,099 children safe from harm.
  • More than 101,486 children got the opportunity to learn.
  • In times of crisis, 258,050 children received emergency relief.
  • More than 434675 children had a healthy start in life.
  • We reached 71,846 people to help fight the spread of AIDS, care for the sick and protect orphans left behind by the terrible disease.
  • To help parents feed their children, 246,226 received support to start businesses, improve farming practices and invest in their children’s futures.
  • To fight malnutrition, nearly 1,783,958 received nutritious food and vital supplements.

The Impact

  • Over 60,000 children and families are suffering from severe food shortages.
  • Over 215,000 children and families have been forced to flee their homes over the last six months and require emergency shelter, food and medical care.
  • Most health clinics throughout the country have been closed for more than 6 months, and the population is deprived of the most basic services.
  • Up to 1 million children are reported to be out of school and hundreds of thousands of children have missed out on nearly an entire school year due to security related closures.
  • Children, girls in particular, are exposed to a wide range of abuse, sexual and gender based violence and early marriages.
  • Given the lack of services diarrhea and malaria are likely to take a huge toll on the 800,000 children under the age of 5.
  • Thousands of children are among the ranks of armed groups and forces and children continue to be recruited.

Save the Children's Response

Save the Children is calling to improve access for humanitarian agencies throughout the country, especially in rural areas. Improved security is also vital to enable the most basic services to be restored, such as the reopening of schools and health clinics.

We have also called on the international community to increase funding for aid, with the UN estimating that CAR needs about $130 million worth of aid but has only received donations to cover 43% of that figure.

Central African Republic Facts and Statistics

  • Population: 5,277,959
  • Infant Death Rate: 128.6 in 1,000 live births
  • Life Expectancy: 51.4 years
  • Underweight Children: 23.5%
  • Human Development Rank: 185 out of 187 countries
  • Maternal Death Risk: 1 in 26 women
  • Girls' Education: 7.2 years
  • Income per capita: 510 (USD)


Unless otherwise noted, facts and statistics have been sourced from Save the Children’s 2014 State of the World’s Mothers report.You can access detailed data here.

Other sources as follows: Population and Life Expectancy: CIA World Factbook 2014; Human Development Rank: United Nations Development Programme 2014; Underweight Children: World Health Organization Report 2014

Last Updated June 2014

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