Half of Central African Republic’s population faces hunger
The UN’s food agency says two and a half million people in the Central African Republic (CAR) – half the total population of the country – face hunger as a result of a political crisis there.
In a statement on Wednesday, the UN World Food Program (WFP)’s Deputy Country Director Guy Adoua said three years of crisis have taken a huge toll on the people of the CAR.
“Families have been forced so often to sell what they own, pull their kids out of school, even resort to begging, that they have reached the end of their rope. This is not the usual run-of-the-mill emergency. People are left with nothing,” he said.
According to the WFP, one in six people in the CAR are struggling with extreme food insecurity, meaning they have to sell their possessions just to get by.
More than one in three do not know where their next meal is coming from, it added.
“WFP is extremely concerned by this alarming level of hunger,” Adoua said.
“People not only lack enough food but are also forced to consume low-cost, low-nutrient food that does not meet their nutritional needs.”
The agency said it provided food and nutritional support for nearly 400,000 people in December 2015 through food distributions, cash transfers, school meals and other activities.
The CAR has been hit by turmoil since 2013, when Christian armed groups launched coordinated attacks against the mostly Muslim Seleka group that had toppled the government in March that year.
In December 2013, France deployed military forces to the CAR, a former French colony, after the UN Security Council gave the go-ahead to sending troops to the country.
Violence has not ended nevertheless. According to the latest UN estimates, the conflict in the CAR has internally displaced 399,000 people and forced more than 460,000 to flee to neighboring countries.