Central Africa Republic: Half of Central African population goes hungry

Bangui, Central African Republic (PANA) - One year after the Central African Republic elected President Faustin Archange Touadera to power, violence and insecurity remain unchecked and half the population is going hungry, warned Oxfam on Thursday.

Despite Touadera’s inauguration on 30 March 2016 on a ticket of ending the violence and guaranteeing protection to Central Africans exhausted after years of conflict, the global humanitarian agency reported that 60% of the territory is still in the hands of the armed groups.

"Touadera promised a return to normality after years of devastating conflict offering hope of the restoration of peace, stability and reconciliation in the Central African Republic," Oxfam recalled, noting that in the last six months, clashes between new coalitions of armed groups have displaced 100,000 people.

Oxfam’s Country Director in CAR, Ferran Puig,  said: “Despite last year’s democratic election that followed three years of political transition, one year later there is now a risk of derailment due to the failure to fulfill the promises made to millions of Central Africans who continue to suffer from hunger and violence.

“The efforts of the President will not be able to end the suffering of the population if they do not materialize in time and if there is no real support from the international community.”

CAR remains extremely dependent on aid – but with a chronically underfunded humanitarian response: 48% of the population is hungry and unable to eat more than once a day. Only 35% have access to safe drinking water and 27% access to sanitation services, according to the United Nations.

Despite the enormous needs, the humanitarian response has only been financed 5% so far this year. In 2016 only 36% of the requested funds were covered, putting the humanitarian response in a situation of chronic underfunding.

About 60% of Central Africans live on agriculture but only 37% of them have been able to grow food in 2016 due to the lack of access to land and persistent insecurity, especially in rural areas.

According to Oxfam’s assessment, 80% of the population in the areas where the agency is responding in the north of the country (in Batangafo and Paoua) have had their production assets stolen or looted.

Likewise, agricultural production in this area has declined by 80% in the last three years because of insecurity and lack of agricultural inputs. This has reduced employment opportunities, especially for the poorest families, who depend on agriculture to survive.

Puig explained: "The situation remains critical. Before the crisis these regions were the country's granaries and had trade links with Chad and Cameroon. Today agricultural activities are almost paralyzed. The promises made by the president to relaunch the economy and agricultural production cannot be fulfilled if the insecurity persists.

“With one in five Central Africans forced from their homes, displaced or refugees, of whom 58 per cent are boys and girls, urgent measures need to be taken to ensure returnees have decent access to basic social services and security guarantees.”
-0- PANA AR 30March2017

30 march 2017 18:54:43

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