C.A.R needs more money to end "massive displacement": aid group

Internally displaced women from Bangui attend a community meeting in Bambari June 16, 2014. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic
Internally displaced women from Bangui attend a community meeting in Bambari June 16, 2014.
REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic

NEW YORK (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Donors need to step up funding efforts for Central African Republic (CAR) where massive displacement, killings and attacks on civilians and humanitarian workers continue, the head of the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) said on Tuesday.

More than 37,000 people have been displaced in the first three months of 2015 alone, said a report by the NRC, while 426,200 people – or nearly 10 percent of the 4.6 million population – remain displaced within the country more than two years after violence erupted in the landlocked nation.

“It is not a good sign that only about 20 percent of the strategic repose plan for the Central African Republic is funded,” Jan Egeland, secretary general of NRC said at a conference in Brussels. “Much more money is needed from the donors to this country.”

Violence broke out in the historically unstable country in March 2013 when mostly Muslim Seleka rebels seized power.

Christian-dominated gangs known as anti-balaka carried out reprisal attacks and drove thousands of Muslims from the south, dividing the country along religious lines.

The conflict has resulted in almost half a million fleeing to neighbouring countries, aid agencies said.

By last week, a funding plan put forward by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs had received some $110 million (71.42 million pounds) of the requested $613 million.

“Civilians, including our own humanitarian staff, are threatened, harassed and attacked. Killing, kidnapping and intimidation persist,” said Egeland.

Many internally displaced women and girls staying in camps are particularly vulnerable to violence as armed men roam displacement sites, according to the report.

Moreover, many of the displaced are unable to leave so-called “enclaves” surrounded by armed militias and mobs, which has rendered them unable to tend to their livelihoods and at risk of food insecurity, NRC said.

“We’ve seen some tangible results and improvements in terms of security…improvements on the humanitarian level as well…nonetheless there’s still a lot to do,” Catherine Samba-Panza, interim president of Central African Republic, said at the conference in Brussels.

Earlier this month, in an agreement hailed by the U.N. as an important step towards peace, 10 armed groups agreed to a peace accord requiring them to disarm and potentially face justice for war crimes.