Displacement on rise in CAR: UN

United Nations, Jan 1: A new wave of displacement was triggered by insecurity in Central African Republic (CAR) during the past weeks, as the crisis in the impoverished country remains severe, a UN spokesperson said Tuesday.

“There has been a 70 percent increase in the number of people displaced in Bangui, from 214,000 on Dec. 17 to 370,000 today,” Martin Nesirky said at a regular news briefing at the UN headquarters, adding that a total of 785,000 people have been displaced across the country and some 2.2 million people are in need of assistance.

Nesirky said aid organisations are reaching as many people as possible with assistance despite insecurity.

“The World Food Program (WFP) has distributed 555 tons of food to more than 133,000 people in Bangui this month. It has also reached more than 41,500 people in Bossangoa and 21,500 people in Bouar,” he said.

CAR has been thrown into turmoil since Seleka rebels launched attacks a year ago and forced president Francois Bozize to flee in March.

A transitional government has since been entrusted with restoring peace and paving the way for democratic elections, but armed clashes have erupted again. Earlier this month, Christians and Muslims launched reprisal attacks against each other in and around Bangui.

At the international airport in Bangui, where agencies estimate that between 70,000 and 100,000 people have sought refuge, humanitarian partners are trying to provide medical care and malnutrition screening for children, said Nesirky.

The UN Children ‘s Fund (Unicef) is also working to establish mobile child protection activities, the spokesman added.

IANS