UN agencies seek support for Central Africa Republic refugees

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GENEVA – The High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) and the World Food Programme (WFP) have called for support to thousands of malnourished refugees in Central African Republic (CAR).

According to UNHCR and WFP, almost 90,000 people have fled across the border between CAR and Cameroon since December last year.

At present, acute malnutrition rates among refugees are between 20 and 30 per cent, well above the emergency threshold of 15 per cent.

WFP Executive Director Ertharin Cousin and High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres stressed that most of the refugees arriving in Cameroon from CAR were exhausted, often acutely malnourished and sick.

“Women and children are arriving in Cameroon in a shocking state, after weeks, sometimes months, on the road, foraging for food.

“This is the most recent tragedy resulting from the escalating bloodshed that has torn CAR apart,’’ Cousin said in a statement.

She urged that all sides must act and intervene to save lives and prevent a worsening situation.

“Many of the people we are trying to help are starved and dangerously ill, meaning that the challenge is much more just ensuring safe haven, it’s about trying to save people’s lives after they arrive,’’ Guterr

Meanwhile, the two heads warned that funds were nearly exhausted as the number of refugees continues to grow with each new round of fighting inside the war-torn country.

Currently, the Regional Response for CAR is only nine per cent funded.

The involves UNHCR, WFP and 13 partners in the four countries affected by the CAR crisis – Cameroon, Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and the Republic of the Congo.

In Cameroon, WFP launched an emergency to feed 100,000 people and is seeking 15 million dollars over eight months. (Xinhua/NAN)