In the Doba transit site, trucks arriving from CAR with Chadian returnees and their personal belongings. Copyright: WFP/Tiziana Zoccheddu
ROME - As thousands of people continue to flee violence across the Central African Republic (CAR), the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) is warning that neighbouring countries are struggling with more than 150,000 new arrivals in urgent need of assistance.
"We are facing a regional crisis, that goes well beyond the borders of the Central African Republic. These people – most of them women and children – have seen their homes burned and witnessed unspeakable violence and had no choice but to leave,” said Denise Brown, WFP’s West Africa Regional Director
“They desperately need food and nutritional assistance and other support both inside CAR and in neighbouring countries. They need it now and they should not have to wait," she said.
More than 70,000 people have fled CAR to Chad since the intensification of violence in December; there are 62,000 refugees in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC); 28,000 have arrived in recent weeks in Cameroon and 12,000 have sought refuge in the Republic of the Congo.
Since December 2013, the exodus from CAR into fragile and food-insecure areas has intensified, creating new strains on local people. Among those uprooted in CAR are Chadian nationals, most of whom have never set foot in their home country or have been gone so long they no longer have any support network.
WFP is concerned it cannot meet the needs of these extremely vulnerable people because of insufficient funding. Many of the surrounding countries are already hosting large numbers of refugees from various countries and resources are stretched. WFP stocks of cereals earmarked for CAR refugees in DRC are running dangerously low and new contributions are needed.
Resourcing the response:
In Chad, 39,000 people in the south of the country have already received food assistance.
WFP is preparing to assist 150,000 people over six months: 50,000 with food and 100,000 with voucher transfers for a total cost of US$16.3 million .
In Cameroon, WFP is providing food assistance to 27,000 recent refugees from CAR and expects numbers to rise to 43,000. The emergency response requires US$ 1.5 million for an initial three-month period.
In DRC, WFP already assists refugees from CAR as well as large numbers of internally displaced people. Critical funding shortfalls have forced WFP to prioritise only the most vulnerable cases. To support the newly arrived refugees WFP needs US$6 million to feed 47,000 people over six months
In Republic of Congo, US$ 1.7 million is required to provide assistance to some 12,000 refugees over six months.