Central African Republic

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Crisis in the Central African Republic

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.


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: 5,166,510
  • Infant Death Rate: 95.04 deaths/1,000 live births
  • Life Expectancy: 50.9 years
  • Poverty Rate: 62.8%
  • Underweight Children: 28%
  • Human Development Rank: 180
  • Maternal Death Risk: 890 deaths/100,000 live births
  • Girls' Education: 5 years
  • Clean Water Access: 67% of population

Sources

Unless otherwise noted, facts and statistics have been sourced from Save the Children's 2012 State of the World's Mothers report. You can access detailed data here.

Other sources as follows: Population, Infant Mortality Rate, Life Expectancy, Girls Education: CIA World Factbook 2013; Human Development Index Rank: United Nations Development Program

Last Updated September 2014