UN: UNICEF says millions of children need urgent assistance in CAR

New York, US (PANA) - Nearly three years after the devastating conflict began in Central
African Republic (CAR), an estimated 1.2 million children are now in urgent need of humanitarian assistance, said the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF).

"The violence that has plagued this country has had a devastating impact on the lives of children," UNICEF's Representative in CAR, Mohamed Fall said in a statement obtained by PANA in New York on Monday.

According to UNICEF estimates, more than two million children have been affected by the
violence which first broke out in December 2012 and which reached crisis levels in December
2013, following clashes that led to the displacement of hundreds of thousands in the capital,
Bangui.

The UNICEF official said about 400,000 people remain displaced within the country,
and renewed clashes in September created an additional 39,000 internally displaced people
in Bangui and a further half a million are living as refugees in neighbouring countries.

Insecurity and under-funding continue to put urgent lifesaving activities at risk,
while attacks on humanitarian conveys threaten the deployment of relief supplies to the
interior of the country.

Mr. Fall disclosed that a song for peace, written and sung by children, that called for national
unity and an end to the fighting was playing on radio stations ahead of Pope Francis'
arrival in the country on Sunday.

"We are hopeful that the voices of these children will be heard, and that the Pope's visit
to CAR will promote reconciliation, in a country that is in desperate need of peace," he
noted.

He also called on all parties to the conflict to grant unrestricted access to organizations
seeking to aid those affected by the crisis.

Even in areas that are not affected by the conflict, the official said that communities need support, with nearly one third of the population having no access to safe drinking water and 41 percent of children under five are chronically malnourished.

"Of the required US$70.9 million in funds to provide urgent lifesaving interventions for
the most vulnerable in 2015, UNICEF has received only US$37 million, just over 50
percent of the required amount, despite the scale of the emergency," Mr. Fall added.
-0-  PANA  AA/AR   30Nov2015

30 november 2015 17:15:41




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