UN: WFP says Central African Republic faces hunger

New York, US (PANA) - An emergency food security assessment by the UN World
Food Programme (WFP) and its partners has revealed that half the population of
Central African Republic (CAR), nearly 2.5 million people, faces hunger.

A WFP statement on Wednesday indicated that the development marked a
doubling in the number of hungry people in a one-year period, as conflict and
insecurity have led to limited access to and availability of food.

Guy Adoua, WFP Deputy Country Director, said: "Three years of crisis have
taken a huge toll on the people of CAR, and families have been forced so
often to sell what they own, pull their kids out of school, even resort to begging."

"They have also reached the end of their rope.This is not the usual run-of-the-mill
emergency, and people are left with nothing."

According to the assessment, one in six women, men and children struggles with
severe or extreme food insecurity, while more than one in three is moderately
food insecure, not knowing where their next meal is coming from.

"WFP is extremely concerned by this alarming level of hunger. People not only
lack enough food but are also forced to consume low-cost, low-nutrient food
that does not meet their nutritional needs," Mr. Adoua stated.

The report also showed that the 2014-2015 harvest was poor and that food
prices remain high as farmers have not tended their fields due to insecurity, and
hundreds of thousands have been forced to flee their homes and abandon their
land and livelihoods.

"Further clashes erupted in late September as much of the food security data
for the assessment was being collected.That violence fuelled more displacement
as people were slowly returning home. Nearly 1 million people are still displaced
inside CAR or seeking refuge in neighbouring countries," it noted.

The report recommended continued emergency food assistance to displaced
families and returnees; food and technical assistance to farmers to recover,
creating safety nets through programmes such as the school meals programme,
and providing support to rehabilitate the infrastructure through food-for-assets
activities.

The WFP official said WFP was providing emergency food and nutritional
support to those most vulnerable and plays a crucial role in supporting recovery
efforts.

"The agency’s programmes focused on cash-based transfers and local food
purchases going into school meals for thousands of children, boost the local
economy and people’s livelihoods.

"We must help the most vulnerable, who need emergency food assistance to
survive, yet we also need to focus on people across CAR so they can recover
and rebuild," stressed Mr. Adoua.

In December 2015, WFP provided food for nearly 400,000 people through general
food distributions, cash-based transfers, nutrition support and school meals,
as well as food-for-assets activities, but US$41 million is required so that it can
respond to urgent needs through to the end of June.

To date, WFP’s operation in CAR is only 45 per cent funded.
-0-   PANA   AA/AR  20Jan2016

20 january 2016 18:40:49




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