Central African Republic

Situation Report

Highlights

  • Humanitarian actors provided life-saving assistance to 1.2 million people in the first half of 2022, representing 60 per cent of the 2022 Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) target.
  • Thousands of Central Africans affected by recent torrential rains.
  • After several years of displacement, humanitarian and development actors are helping internally displaced persons and refugees to resume a normal life.
  • With 50 per cent of the population not eating enough, CAR has one of the highest proportions of critically food-insecure people in the world.
  • The humanitarian community in CAR plans to provide multi-sectoral assistance to 2 million people in 2022. US$461.3 million are required.
The president of one of the displaced women's association at the PK3 IDP site in Bria during a training on income-generating activities through which women can supplement the assistance they receive from humanitarian organizations. Large numbers of IDPs have fled violence and insecurity to Bria. ©OCHA/A.Cadonau
The president of one of the displaced women's association at the PK3 IDP site in Bria during a training on income-generating activities through which women can supplement the assistance they receive from humanitarian organizations. Large numbers of IDPs have fled violence and insecurity to Bria. ©OCHA/A.Cadonau

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Central African Republic

Situation Report

Key Figures

4.9M
Population
3.1M
People need humanitarian assistance
2M
People targeted for assistance
1.2M
People assisted in the first half of 2022
2.2M
Food-insecure people
655K
Internally displaced people (31/08/2022)
740K
Central African refugees
14922
COVID-19 cases
113
COVID-19-related deaths

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Central African Republic

Situation Report

Funding

$461.3M
Required
$330M
Received
72%
Progress
FTS

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Contacts

Vedaste KALIMA

Head of Office

Maxime NAMA CIRHIBUKA

Head of Public Information

Virgo EDGAR NGARBAROUM

Reporting Officer

Central African Republic

Situation Report
Emergency Response
A helicopter is often the only way for humanitarians to reach people in need in the remotest areas of the vast Central African Republic, where the security situation is precarious and roads are poor. ©OCHA/Anita Cadonau, CAR, 2022.
A helicopter is often the only way for humanitarians to reach people in need in the remotest areas of the vast Central African Republic, where the security situation is precarious and roads are poor. ©OCHA/Anita Cadonau, CAR, 2022.

Reaching the remotest corners of the country

A team of six humanitarian organizations from the United Nations and NGOs boarded a helicopter with 750 kg of relief supplies in Bria, in the center of the country, on 30 August 2022. Their destination: Ouanda-Djallé, a town almost 300 km away, where people are almost completely cut off from the outside world and live in precarious conditions.

Armed groups dominate the area, committing serious international humanitarian law and human rights abuses. Attacks, robberies, lootings and illegal taxations limit people’s ability to move around, feed their families and gain a living, negatively affecting their health, nutrition and protection. In addition, insecurity and bad or even inexistent roads have made it very difficult to deliver humanitarian assistance.

Impossible road access

People are almost completely isolated, especially during the rainy season from April to October, when bridges collapse and roads are washed away. During this period, a helicopter is often the only way to reach a remote place like Ouanda-Djallé. Thanks to generous contributions from donors, the UN Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS) added a helicopter to its aircraft fleet in early August, allowing humanitarians to reach people in the remotest corners of the country that would otherwise be inaccessible. This is also the time of the year when floods occur and when quick access to people in remote areas is crucial to save lives, as was the case in nearby Sam-Ouandja in September 2021, where a UNHAS helicopter was used.

Urgently needed aid

The helicopter mission to Ouanda-Djallé, composed of the World Food Programme (WFP), International Medical Corps (IMC), INTERSOS, APADE and OXFAM under the coordination of OCHA, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, and joining the NGO Vision et Développement already in Ouanda-Djallé, supports the scale-up of humanitarian assistance for the 7,000 inhabitants. The humanitarian workers distribute nutritional supplements for malnourished children and mothers, essential medicines and health supplies for the local hospital, post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) kits for survivors of sexual violence and hygiene and sanitary items for women and adolescent girls. A doctor in the team ensures that the local medical staff understand how to administer and stock the medicines.

To pave the way for a complementary humanitarian response in the coming weeks and months, the team conducts detailed assessments of people’s needs in different sectors during the five-day mission. They also meet with local community leaders and representatives to build acceptance of the humanitarian activities and to better understand security constraints.

A comprehensive regional strategy

The last humanitarian intervention in Ouanda-Djallé dates back to July, when three helicopter missions brought in urgently needed relief items. But in view of the population’s dire needs, this was only the beginning of a longer engagement.

The mission to Ouanda-Djallé is part of a wider strategy jointly adopted by humanitarian partners in the Central African Republic (CAR) to assist 28,400 people in the remote triangle of Ouadda, Sam Ouandja and Ouanda-Djallé in the northern Vakaga and Haute-Kotto Prefectures. The plan includes life-saving, multi-sectoral assistance during three months and the progressive establishment of a humanitarian presence in the area in the longer term. The latest allocation from the CAR Humanitarian Fund in August sets aside funds to finance this strategy in this remote corner of the country, as well as in eastern Bakouma, where people are in similar isolation.

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Visual

Overview of population movements as of 31 August 2022

Overview of population movements as of 31 August 2022

As of 31 August 2022, the total number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in CAR was estimated at 654,688, comprising 146,625 people living at IDP sites and 508,063 in host families. This represents an overall increase of 6 805 people (1 per cent) compared to July 2022.

The upward trend in the overall number of displaced people per month, which began in May, continued. In August, 19,977 people were newly displaced. These displacements were observed in areas affected by incursions and exactions by armed groups against the civilian population, as well as heavy rains causing houses to collapse in Bangui and in the Ouham Prefecture.

13,172 spontaneous returns were recorded August due to the improved security situation in the villages and neighborhoods of origin of former IDPs, particularly in the Ouaka Prefecture.

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Background
Two days after the torrential rains of 22 July, Rodrigue Yetendji has still not fully realized what damage was done to his family's three houses and their other possessions. ©OCHA/Maxime Nama, 6th Arrondissement, Bangui, CAR, 2022.
Two days after the torrential rains of 22 July, Rodrigue Yetendji has still not fully realized what damage was done to his family's three houses and their other possessions. ©OCHA/Maxime Nama, 6th Arrondissement, Bangui, CAR, 2022.

Floods continue to affect the Central African Republic

Since June 2022, floods in the Central African Republic (CAR) have affected some 85,300 people, destroyed more than 2,600 houses and 18,500 hectares of crops, damaged numerous other infrastructures and displaced more than 6,000 people. At the end of September, six schools were still occupied by flood victims, jeopardizing the start of the 2022-2023 school year for 10,000 children.

More than 176 town and villages have been affected by floods in 12 of the country's 17 prefectures. The northern Vakaga Prefecture has been the most affected with 24,000 flood victims, followed by the capital Bangui (20,400 victims) and the Ouham Prefecture (13,000 victims). These latest floods come at a time when humanitarian needs have increased exponentially across the country, with 63 per cent of the Central African population in need of assistance and protection – 3.1 million people.

The last major floods occurred in 2019. Some 100,000 people lost their homes and access to clean water, and most of them were forced to move to temporary sites or host families. At that time, 3 per cent of all displaced people in the Central African Republic were displaced by natural disasters.

In response to the current situation, the Government's strategy is to provide humanitarian assistance in the affected neighborhoods, coupled with disaster mitigation and recovery measures.

Disaster victims need assistance

Since July, the Ministry of Humanitarian Action, Solidarity and National Reconciliation has brought together specialized state actors, representatives of the affected districts, humanitarian and development actors, and the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) to set up a coordinated response structure, co-facilitated by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

Complementing the Government's efforts, the humanitarian community has provided a multi-sectoral emergency response to more than 43,000* people. 11,000 families received shelter kits to rebuild their houses and 10,000 families received essential household items, such as buckets, blankets, sleeping mats and kitchen utensils. Tens of thousands of water purification tablets were distributed to prevent waterborne diseases, boreholes and wells were rehabilitated, mobile clinics ensured people’s access to healthcare and food, cash and food vouchers, as well as school supplies were distributed.

The largest number of people were assisted in Ouham Prefecture with 17,300 people, followed by 17,000 people in the capital Bangui. But many affected people have yet to receive assistance – resources are scarce and physical access to some of the affected regions is very difficult during the rainy season, for example in the Vakaga Prefecture, where floods have affected 24,000 people, as well as in Haute-Kotto. According to weather forecasts, there is a risk of further flooding before the end of the rainy season, which lasts from April to October.

Humanitarian actors continue consolidating their emergency stocks to fill any gaps not covered by the Government assistance, in a context where resources to meet the humanitarian needs are heavily stretched. At the end of September, only 71 per cent of the USD 461 million needed in the framework of the Humanitarian Response Plan for CAR have been mobilized.

Mitigation measures

The floods come after the adoption of the new National Strategy for Disaster Risk Management on 13 July. It is built around four strategic axes, including risk identification and analysis, disaster risk governance, strengthening disaster risk management mechanisms, and disaster emergency management. However, the operationalization of the implementing bodies awaits the signing of a presidential decree.

In September 2020, the NGO REACH published a study of flood susceptibility in populated areas. The study developed a flood risk score, aimed at improving emergency preparedness initiatives, and supporting planning and decision-making. Funded by the Humanitarian Fund for the Central African Republic (CAR), the data from this study was cross-referenced with data from multi-sectoral needs assessments conducted in 2019. The final result was made available to the authorities, revealing, for example, higher impact risks of flooding in Ouham and Kémo Prefectures (more than 203,000 people at high risk), while Nana-Mambéré and Ouham-Pendé had low risk scores.

The study also showed that most Central African settlements are located next to rivers and their basins, around which people's livelihoods are developed. The banks of these rivers tend to overflow with increasing amounts of rainfall collected in the basins. Thus, if infrastructure adaptation, as well as contingency planning are not developed, downstream interventions will not be sufficient for populations already battered by more than a decade of conflict and several other shocks.

For better preparedness

To ensure optimal preparation for flooding, a Technical Operational Committee was set up in 2020 under the aegis of the Ministry of Humanitarian Action, Solidarity and National Reconciliation, with the participation of OCHA, the DGPC, the Central African Red Cross, MINUSCA and the Bangui City Council. This new structure has coordinated field visits in Bangui to identify areas at risk and priority preparedness measures.

The extensive impacts of the floods highlighted coordination problems in terms of standardizing the data provided by various actors, the lack of people trained in post-disaster assessments and the lack of clear guidelines for assessments. The lack of a common data storage/management platform, including mapping, has also been a weakness.

In response, OCHA in collaboration with the NGO REACH and the IFRC, has been building the capacity of 45 volunteers from the National Red Cross and the DGPC on post-disaster assessment since 2021. These volunteers are currently part of the teams assessing the situation.

* Other vulnerable people than those directly affected by the floods benefited from humanitarian assistance, for example people who benefited from the rehabilitation of wells in their neighborhoods.

Infographics: Overview of humanitarian situation after floods (in French)

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Situation Report
Visual

Overview of incidents affecting humanitarian August 2022

Overview of incidents affecting humanitarian workers August 2022

Between 1 January and 31 August 2022, 125 incidents affecting humanitarian workers or property were recorded in the Central African Republic, including one humanitarian killed and 18 injured. With 29 incidents in August - nearly one a day - the number of incidents per month has never been this high since September 2021. In August, almost half (48 per cent) of all incidents were thefts, robberies or intrusions into humanitarian bases.

Since the beginning of the year, Bangui (23 per cent) and Ouham-Fafa (11 per cent) and Ouaka Prefectures (10 per cent of all incidents) have been most affected by incidents against humanitarians. Thefts, robberies, lootings, threats and assaults represented 70 per cent of the 125 incidents; interferences and restrictions 30 per cent.

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Central African Republic

Situation Report
Emergency Response
A mother receiving free care, from prenatal care until her baby was born, thanks to a project funded by the CAR Humanitarian Fund. ©OCHA/V. Bero
A mother receiving free care, from prenatal care until her baby was born, thanks to a project funded by the CAR Humanitarian Fund. ©OCHA/V. Bero

Life-saving assistance

1.3 million Central Africans received life-saving multi-sectoral assistance in 2021 through 54 projects funded by the Central African Republic Humanitarian Fund (CAR HF), a pooled emergency funding mechanism. Among them, Abella Sessepou, aged 23, who fled her village of Ouaka 1, located 85 km from Ippy, to take refuge at the Etomane IDP site in Ippy. She is the mother of two children, one of whom was born prematurely and receives free care from the NGO Médecins du Monde France (MDM) thanks to an emergency aid project funded by the CAR HF.

"Our house was burnt down. When we fled, we lost everything. I don't know in which direction my husband left. To this day, I have no news from him. I found refuge at the Etomane site with my son. As I was pregnant, I received assistance from the NGO MDM. I could undergo prenatal consultations, received care and was able to do some tests before the birth. Everything was free. My baby was born premature at seven and a half months. He is still under medical supervision at the health centre in Ippy. We are so lucky that health care and even food is free", says Abella. Like her and her family, 602,000 Central Africans are currently internally displaced, while 738,000 others have sought refuge in neighbouring countries, fleeing violent clashes that have lasted for more than a decade.

"At the site where we live, conditions are difficult. We have many needs, but at least health care is something less to worry about. The assistance provided by the NGO MDM has saved my son's life. I wouldn't know what to do if I had to pay for the care we received, because I don't have any means at the moment", Abella says. This is the concern of many Central Africans caught in the conflict.

A flexible funding tool

In its classic form, the humanitarian programme cycle provides a common understanding of the most urgent needs and the priorities and parameters of the humanitarian community's strategic response. However, the level of fundraising in the framework of the Humanitarian Response Plan does not always keep pace with the level of needs, particularly in sudden-onset emergencies. This is where the use of the Humanitarian Fund, thanks to the generosity of its donors, enables the humanitarian community to cover vital under-funded needs and sudden-onset emergencies in a timely, efficient and coordinated manner.

In this framework, 23.3 million US dollars were allocated in 2021 to 35 humanitarian organisations in CAR (UN agencies, national and international NGOs) to meet the most urgent needs of 1.3 million Central Africans in the areas of food security, protection, the fight against gender-based violence, health care and water, hygiene and sanitation.

For more information on the activities of the CAR HF in 2021, see the annual report here.

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Visual

Central African Republic: Humanitarian dashboard January - June 2022

Central African Republic : Humanitarian dashboard January - June 2022

Despite security and logistical challenges, humanitarian actors provided life-saving assistance to 1.2 million people in the first half of 2022, representing 60 per cent of the 2022 Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) target, with 42 per cent of funding. During the same period in 2021, 1.4 million people were assisted (76 per cent of the 2021 HRP target) with a funding level of 51 per cent of the 2021 HRP.

The persistent shortage of fuel all over the country has limited humanitarian access that was already restricted by ongoing hostilities, the presence of explosive devices and physical access constraints to some areas.

For the second half of the year, the mobilization of funds remains imperative to sustain the results achieved, respond to the consequences of the crisis and to counter the double effect of the fuel shortage on the costs of humanitarian interventions and essential goods.

Download the Humanitarian Dashboard from January to June 2022.

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Situation Report
Feature
  A young displaced man is being vaccinated against COVID-19 at a site for internally displaced people in Ippy. ©OCHA/Anita Cadonau, Ippy, Ouaka Prefecture, CAR, 2022.
A young displaced man is being vaccinated against COVID-19 at a site for internally displaced people in Ippy. ©OCHA/Anita Cadonau, Ippy, Ouaka Prefecture, CAR, 2022.

Two years after the Central African Republic confirmed the first COVID-19 case

Two years have passed since the government of the Central African Republic (CAR) confirmed on 14 March 2020 the first COVID-19 case in the country. Since then, various humanitarian and development partners have been supporting the government in responding to the pandemic, in addition to responding to a humanitarian crisis that has been lasting for more than a decade.

As of 14 September 2022, 1,934,751 people, have received the COVID-19 vaccine from the COVAX facility and bilateral donations from China and Russia.

The Ministry of Health has revised its national vaccine rollout plan to scale up COVID-19 vaccination with the aim to cover 52 per cent of the total population by December 2022. The plan will include new targets, including people aged 15 and older. The plan will benefit from financial support from the World Bank, UNICEF, GAVI and WHO.

The CAR government launched on 20 May 2021 the COVID-19 vaccination campaign with the support of partners, notably WHO, UNICEF and GAVI. The campaign began with the symbolic vaccination of members of the government and health workers. Frontline health personnel, vulnerable people aged 50 and above, religious leaders, traders, community liaison volunteers, transporters and journalists were targeted first by the campaign. The COVID-19 vaccination campaign covers all 16 prefectures of the country, but is experiencing access difficulties due to insecurity and poor road conditions.

Response to the second and third wave

On the vigil of the campaign launch, President Touadéra on 19 May announced that a public health emergency will be declared and a number of measures taken to intensify efforts to contain the second COVID-19 wave, that hit the country in March and April 2021. Stricter barrier measures at gathering places such as restaurants, bars, places of worship, weddings and funerals, and public transport were announced, as well as their more rigorous reinforcement.

In January 2022, CAR was in the middle of the third COVID-19 wave. In the first week of January, 745 new cases were recorded, more than during the entire month of December 2021 (674 cases). As of 14 September 2022, the Ministry of Health has recorded 14,312* COVID-19 cases, including 113 deaths, since the beginning of the pandemic.

Conducive environment

A survey conducted by the NGO Ground Truth Solutions indicated that Central Africans are ready to be vaccinated against COVID-19 and believe that the vaccine will help to eradicate the virus, despite some scepticism and misinformation that persist. Humanitarian and development partners have been supporting the Ministry of Health in elaborating a communication campaign to inform and encourage people to get vaccinated and to counter the spread of false information about the vaccine.

Challenges on all fronts

CAR looks back at a year during which humanitarian needs soared. Never in the past five years have there been so many people in acute need as today. COVID-19 hit a country already ravaged by decades of armed conflict and underdevelopment. According to the WHO, CAR was among the least prepared to face the pandemic. A series of aggravating factors render the country both vulnerable and the response to the pandemic difficult:

The health system is barely functioning, due to a chronic shortage of skilled health workers, medical equipment and basic medicines. Seventy per cent of health services are provided by humanitarian organizations and over 2.7 million people, half of the population, need health assistance. One in four Central Africans walks for over an hour to reach the nearest clinic and for many, the bills for consultations and medications are unaffordable. Only one in three Central Africans has access to clean water and for many, soap is a luxury good. Access to water and sanitation is particularly problematic at the many sites where 156,000 internally displaced people (IDPs) live, often in crowded makeshift shelters where physical distancing is not practicable.

The provision of protective equipment and medical devices to diagnose and treat COVID-19 patients posed a serious challenge, particularly at the onset of the pandemic. Poor road infrastructure and the six-month rainy season disrupt supply chains to large parts of the country. Insecurity further hinders access to services and the possibility of humanitarians to reach people in need of assistance. A severe lack in cold chain infrastructure further impedes the safe supply of medicines across the country.

Unprecedented humanitarian response

Faced with these challenges, humanitarian and development organizations have scaled up support to the Ministry of Health since March 2020 to provide a comprehensive and decentralized response and to strengthen the public health system and access to water and sanitation. Nearly a third of the US$ 553.6 million budget for humanitarian assistance in 2020 was dedicated to the COVID-19 response. As a result, humanitarian partners improved access to health care for 938,000 people in 2020 and made access to water and sanitation possible for 770,000 people, including many IDPs. To mitigate the effects of COVID-19 on food security, humanitarian organizations in 2020 assisted 900,000 vulnerable people with food and over 170,000 farmers were able to produce their own food and increase income thanks to agricultural support.

Adapting the modality of assistance

Cash-based interventions became a preferred modality of assistance that avoids large crowds and provides a safer space for humanitarian assistance in times of an epidemic. With 48 per cent more beneficiaries reached in 2020 compared to the previous year, cash-based assistance experienced a surge. This steady increase continued in 2021, with 1.6 million people who received cash-based assistance, twice as many as in 2020. 577,000 people received US$ 12.1 million for COVID-related multisector assistance in cash or vouchers, first and foremost, to improve hygiene standards and access to water.

* Given limited testing capacities, the government’s diagnostic strategy since July 2020 limits tests to suspected cases and people at risk. Thus, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases should be interpreted with caution. For illustration, 104,622 people have been tested for COVID-19 as of 14 September 2022.

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CAR Humanitarian Fund, January - June 2022

CAR Humanitarian Fund, January - June 2022

The first half of the year has been marked by an increasingly difficult operational environment at a time when the Central African Republic (CAR) is witnessing a humanitarian crisis without precedent. The intensification of the conflict and the subsequent insecurity forced tens of thousands of people to flee their villages, limited the already precarious access to goods and services, and drastically restricted the survival capacities of affected people. This recent deterioration comes at a time when 3.1 million people (63 per cent of the population) need assistance and protection, according to the 2022 Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP). Against this backdrop, the CAR Humanitarian Fund (CAR HF) plays a key role in supporting a flexible, efficient and coordinated humanitarian response. During the first semester of 2022, thanks to donors’ continuous generosity and trust, the CAR HF was able to allocate US$9.6 million to 17 projects of 13 organizations targeting 187,307 people with urgent needs in conflict areas. The CAR HF continued to prioritize frontline responders with 81 per cent of funding allocated to non-governmental organizations (NGOs). The first CAR HF Standard Allocation was launched in February 2022 for a total of US$7.9 million. Additionally, two Reserve Allocations of US$1M and US$750,000 were made to fund gaps in the Logistics and Health clusters. More details here.

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Background
Ibrahim Hassan and his family posing in front of their new home in Pladama Ouaka – the children’s very first home. Ibrahim has been displaced for the past 10 years.   © UNHCR, Francis Donatien Cedric Romane Palike, Ouaka Prefecture, Central African Repblic, 2022.
Ibrahim Hassan and his family posing in front of their new home in Pladama Ouaka – the children’s very first home. Ibrahim has been displaced for the past 10 years. © UNHCR, Francis Donatien Cedric Romane Palike, Ouaka Prefecture, Central African Repblic, 2022.

Finding durable solutions to displacement

The Central African Republic (CAR) has been ravaged by conflict and violence for decades. Many of the 4.9 million Central Africans have been traumatized by displacement, many multiple times. Despite the ongoing crisis, humanitarian and development actors are working hand in hand with the government to enable internally displaced persons (IDP) and refugees in CAR to resume normal lives, when circumstances permit.

Durable solution for displacement is the key term. It means moving away from displacement sites and dependency on humanitarian assistance. A durable solution, when achieved, means that people no longer need specific assistance and protection related to their displacement. Durable solutions include the voluntary return to their home or place of residence, resettlement to another part of the country or the integration in the host community. IDPs and refugees often need support in their efforts to find a durable solution. While humanitarian actors are doing good work to address the urgent and immediate needs of IDPs and refugees, the engagement of partners from the development, peace and security sectors is needed to implement durable solutions.

The integrated village

In Pladama Ouaka, a rural municipality located at about 10 km outside Bambari in the Ouaka Prefecture, former IDPs are currently starting a new life. From January to February 2022, 490 families moved to Pladama Ouaka with the support of humanitarian and development agencies and the local authorities. They had fled violence in different parts of the country and had lived at a displacement site in Bambari for years until it was burnt down in May 2021 and the IDPs were forced to leave the site. Displaced again, they settled in the Mosque, from where they were again evicted, and in different neighbourhoods in Bambari, where they lived in very difficult conditions and were also exposed to protection risks and disease outbreaks. In this dire context, a sustainable solution had to be found.

Local authorities identified Pladama Ouaka, a community of 50,000 people, as the ideal place for voluntary resettlement. Around 1,000 families agreed almost immediately to move there. In a first phase, 490 families have been supported in their resettlement by different United Nations agencies, including the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the World Food Programme (WFP), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), different NGOs, including ACTED, AID, APADE, HOPIN, Humanity and Inclusion (HI), International Medical Corps (IMC), Intersos, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), Tearfund, Triangle, World Vision and the local authorities.

The 10 km road from Bambari was rehabilitated to facilitate access and increase security through police patrols and four new neighbourhoods were demarcated in Pladama Ouaka. After an initial phase, where people moved to transitional shelters, houses are now being built with bricks and straw, one for each family with a toilet per household.

“I am so happy to have a house because a man without a house is considered a no one in the community,” says Ibrahim Hassan, who had been displaced for the past 10 years after fleeing from Kouango in 2012, and who is among the first of the 490 families preparing to move into the new brick houses in Pladama Ouaka. “This house and the large plot of land give me back the dignity I had before the conflict. They give me the strength to wake up every morning, get some food for my family and go about my business. My children’s future will be filled with joy and not pain, which makes me very happy”, the father of seven says.

An addition hangar was constructed at the local health centre and a school building rehabilitated, school supplies and didactic material were distributed to teachers and pupils and benches and tables for the school will follow. Two boreholes were drilled in the integrated village and a third is planned. Community management structures are also being reinforced to resolve conflicts and foster cohesion. Local authorities allocated farmland for the new habitants to support their livelihoods. Food security partners distributed gardening kits to help them grow vegetables.

Additional funds estimated at US $5 million are now required to assist the relocation and integration into the community of another 436 IDP families of 1,459 individuals, who have expressed their wish to move from Bambari to Pladama Ouaka, and humanitarian and development actors are currently mobilizing funds.

Resettling an entire town

In May 2022, a similar durable solutions project has been launched in Bria in the Haute-Kotto Prefecture, where the country’s largest IDP site is located. 37,000 IDPs live at a settlement 3 km out of town (PK3), in the commune that counts 75,000 habitants. Many of them have fled violence and insecurity from central Bria to the site in 2017 and 2018. Since 2021, the security situation in Bria has been continuously improving and state authorities, including the police, armed forces and justice have returned. Today, humanitarian and development partners and the prefectural authorities are supporting the return of the first 150 families from the PK3 site to two neighbourhoods in Bria. They provide building materials to rebuild the houses that are in ruins. Brick presses are available for people to make their own bricks and build their houses. Last year, the NGO OXFAM drilled 10 boreholes, which now benefit the newly returned. Although there is still much work to be done before durable solutions can be found for all 37,000 IDPs at the PK3 site – rebuilding houses, schools, wells and livelihoods – there is a sense of hope for a more normal life outside the cramped IDP site.

A major displacement crisis

The crisis in CAR remains a major displacement crisis. Almost one in four people is displaced. 655,000 people are displaced within the country and 740,000 CAR refugees live in neighbouring countries, mainly Cameroon and the DR Congo. New displacements are recorded every month, as well as return movements. The peak of recent displacement was reached in February 2021, when 742,000 IDPs were registered – 87,000 more than today – after violence erupted across the country following the presidential elections. Displacements continue as the conflict is not over. However, this does not stand in the way of durable solutions where the situation has stabilized, and is slowly contributing to the country’s recovery.

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Trends
A truck carrying goods from a UN agency hit an explosive device in Ngoutere, killing two people. © Anour Gourna, Ngoutere, Ouham-Pendé Prefecture, CAR, 2022.
A truck carrying goods from a UN agency hit an explosive device in Ngoutere, killing two people. © Anour Gourna, Ngoutere, Ouham-Pendé Prefecture, CAR, 2022.

The ever-growing threat of explosive devices

Accidents involving landmines and other explosive ordnance have taken on increasing proportions since April 2021, particularly in the west of the Central African Republic (CAR), a region where conflict has intensified.

An alarming rise

Between January and August 2022, eight people, all civilians, were killed and 63 injured, of which 40 civilians, in 41 accidents and incidents involving explosive devices. In 2021, 44 such accidents were recorded, killing 30 people, including 23 civilians, and injuring 48, including 30 civilians. The number of accidents recorded as of 1 september 2022 represent 93 per cent accidents recorded in 2021, and both years show a significant increase compared to the year 2020, when two incidents with no casualties were registered.

Civilians are the main victims of explosive devices in CAR. In total, 81 per cent of those killed and 76 per cent of those injured since 2021 were civilians. The most affected region is the west of the country (51 per cent) of all incidents and accidents took place, although an increasing number of accidents have also been registered in the country’s centre in 2022.

On 4 April, anti-personnel mines were discovered for the first time in CAR. The population found them and reported them to the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) and the peacekeeping mission MINUSCA, which destroyed the devices before they could harm someone. Anti-personnel landmines are prohibited under the Mine Ban Convention, which entered into force for CAR in 2003.

In mid-March, a truck contracted by a United Nations agency to transport construction materials from Bocaranga to Bozoum to build a secondary school hit an anti-tank mine near Ngoutéré, 40 km from Bocaranga. Two people were killed, two injured and the truck was severely damaged. The same truck had hit another mine in the same area in December, injuring one person. The school construction project has since been halted because construction material cannot be delivered, risking the school drop out of 600 pupils. In the same region of Ngoutéré, humanitarian partners cannot reach 1,800 vulnerable people with food assistance and cannot support four health facilities and 12 schools due to the lack of access.

Without distinction

The victims are diverse: a family, children, farmers, a humanitarian worker, merchants, armed elements, UN peacekeepers and a priest. Explosive devices that detonate by the presence, proximity or contact of a person cannot distinguish between civilians and combatants, raising important concerns about the principles of distinction and proportionality under international humanitarian law.

In July 2020, the suspected use of anti-vehicle mines was first reported in the country since the UN peacekeeping mission MINUSCA was established in 2014. One of the suspected devices damaged a MINUSCA tank near the border with Cameroon. After a relative calm between July 2020 and April 2021, the problem has taken on dangerous dimensions with serious consequences for civilians and humanitarian access.

Restricting humanitarian access and socioeconomic activities

The suspected presence of explosive devices severely limits humanitarian access to vulnerable people in a context already marked by access restrictions due to armed conflict and physical access constraints.

At least 30,000 vulnerable people are cut off from humanitarian assistance in western CAR due to the threat of landmines and other explosive devices. Humanitarian partners in Paoua, Bouar and Bocaranga are forced to restrict their movements due to the increasing threat of these devices. In December 2021, humanitarian organisations temporarily suspended their movements throughout the north-west (north of Bocaranga and west of Paoua), as well as west of Berbérati. The absence of humanitarian aid increases people’s vulnerability and exposes them to malaria and waterborne diseases. For example, most of the water points on the Niem-Yelewa-Sabéwa axis are out of order due to lack of maintenance. According to the Humanitarian Needs Overview 2022, the regions affected by explosive devices are also among those with the most severe humanitarian needs. Several axes in the Nana-Mambéré, Mambéré-Kadéï and Ouham-Pendé Prefectures have been considered high-risk due to the suspected presence of explosive devices and remain impassable for humanitarian workers and civilians, notably between Gamboula and Amadagaza. The same applies to the Yelewa-Sabéwa axis, which has remained inaccessible since January 2021. Towns and villages in the areas where explosive devices are suspected risk to be cut off from food and other supplies, trade, security patrols and humanitarian assistance. Explosive ordnance also limits people’s access to fields during this time of planting, places of work and income and essential services such as health care and education.

Emergency assistance by air

Circumventing access restrictions, between June and October 2021, OCHA and humanitarian partners delivered relief supplies by helicopter to Nguia-Bouar, Ngaoundaye, Ndim and Gbambia in Nana-Mambéré, Mambéré-Kadei and Ouham-Pendé. More than 4.5 tons of medicine, nutritional supplements, hygiene products, education kits and food reached about 56,000 vulnerable people, including more than 4,000 internally displaced people, to satisfy the most urgent needs and replenish local health centers.

Following clearance operations of explosive devices by MINUSCA, an OCHA and UNHCR convoy delivered more than 80 tonnes of food and 555 kits with essential household items to more than 1,500 host families and displaced people near Bocaranga, Ndim and Koui in early February 2022.

Protecting civilians and humanitarian workers

Humanity & Inclusion (HI), an NGO funded by the CAR Humanitarian Fund, raises awareness of the danger of explosive devices among the most vulnerable people in the area of Bocaranga (Ouham-Pendé Prefecture), one of the most affected regions in the country, and teaches them safe behavior to reduce the risks they face. Education sessions in villages between June and November 2022 will target 3,150 people, including 1,800 children. Special attention will be paid to include people with disabilities, women, girls and the elderly, and language barriers and illiteracy will be addressed, for example by adapting awareness raising material and methods, to ensure that all people have access to life-saving information on explosive devices. In addition, HI will train 40 humanitarian workers in Ouham-Pendé on explosive ordnance risk education.

In 2021, UNMAS reached 7,085 people, including 4,310 children, with an awareness campaign on the threat of explosive ordnance in Bouar, Berbérati, Paoua and Boali. Awareness signs were erected at strategic locations and drawings and photographs showed the precautions to take to avoid explosive devices, how to mark them and report them to the organizations responsible for their destruction. UNMAS also organized explosive ordnance awareness sessions for more than 1,500 humanitarian and UN staff in 2021.

Despite ongoing awareness campaigns, there is still a significant need to further strengthen risk education given the scale of the problem. Additional resources are urgently needed to expand risk education for children, women and men in the most affected areas.

Watch a video on the danger of explosive devices in western CAR here.

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Central African Republic

Situation Report
Analysis
Women and children shop at a local market in Bambari. The food security situation in Bambari and the rest of the Ouaka Prefecture is worrisome and considered to be in a crisis or even emergency phase. ©OCHA/Siegfried Modola, Bambari, Ouaka Prefecture, CAR.
Women and children shop at a local market in Bambari. The food security situation in Bambari and the rest of the Ouaka Prefecture is worrisome and considered to be in a crisis or even emergency phase. ©OCHA/Siegfried Modola, Bambari, Ouaka Prefecture, CAR.

CAR: Food insecurity reaches catastrophic proportions

The Central African Republic (CAR) is a fertile country. It rains abundantly, the soil is rich, and a variety of crops, fruits and vegetables grow almost year-round. Despite this apparent abundance, one in two people do not have enough to eat. The reason for this is the conflict, which has intensified again since the beginning of the year. The number of internally displaced people remains among the highest since 2014, now reaching 610,000 people, and far more in the previous months. People live in fear of attacks and abuses by armed groups, which limits their mobility and access to fields and forests for farming, gathering and hunting. This dangerous environment also limits the access of humanitarian organizations to people in need of assistance. One of the consequences is the continued deterioration of food insecurity since last year.

A grim picture

Nutrition and food security indicators for the lean season (from April to August) are bleak. Poor access to agricultural inputs and the impact of the conflict on livelihoods have reduced cultivated land and affected household food stocks. In April, CAR reported one of the highest proportions of critically food insecure people in the world, along with Yemen, South Sudan and Afghanistan: nearly 50 per cent of the population (2.2 million people) do not have enough to eat and do not know where their next meal will come from. The situation is particularly worrying in the Bakouma, Koui, Ngaoundaye, Obo and Zémio Sub-prefectures where the proportion of people affected by food insecurity is between 65 and 75 per cent. In West and Central Africa, CAR is the country with the second highest number of people in emergency food situation after Nigeria, with 638,000 people on the verge of famine, according to recent results of the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC).

Supply chain disruptions driven by the COVID-19 pandemic have contributed to an increase in already high food prices in CAR. In addition, new dynamics from the conflict in Ukraine are gradually further exacerbating supply chain disruptions, leading to price increases for basic food items, but also increasing the costs of the food basket per person assisted and the prices related to agricultural assistance.. Yet, already in 2020, 71 per cent of Central Africans were living below the poverty line (US$1.9 per day) and rely today on local markets that are under pressure. The current fuel shortage in the country is placing an additional burden on households and significantly disrupts humanitarian operations. In some regions, humanitarian organizations have been forced to scale back their movements to a minimum.

An urgent appeal

The various disruptions in the supply chain have caused a 19 per cent increase in the budget planned by the Food Security Cluster, which brings together humanitarian actors working in this sector. At the beginning of this year, the Cluster was planning to assist 2 million of the most severely food insecure people for a total budget of US$163.4 million. Today, the Cluster needs to mobilize an additional US$31.4 million, for a total budget of nearly US$195 million.

In February, the CAR Humanitarian Fund (HF) granted US$8 million to cover the most urgent needs of 261,000 people in 10 sub-prefectures most severely affected by both food insecurity and conflict.

The Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) also provided US$15 million in June to help reduce food insecurity in the most severely food-insecure sub-prefectures in complementary sectors (water, hygiene and sanitation, nutrition and protection).

In August, the Humanitarian Fund granted an additional US$9 million, notably to support the multisectoral emergency response in the most food-insecure areas.

However, this support is still not sufficient given the scale of the situation. If the humanitarian response is not stepped up immediately, the food situation of more than 2 million people will deteriorate significantly; including 638,000 people who are already in the emergency phase of food insecurity (IPC Phase 4) and only one step away from famine.

With no end to the conflict in sight, the vast majority of people affected by the crisis will continue to rely on humanitarian assistance in the months ahead. Only 38 per cent of the country's Humanitarian Response Plan 2022 is currently funded. The lack of resources to meet the population's exploding needs, coupled with disruptions in the supply chain, has already forced the World Food Programme (WFP) and partners to cut the monthly food ration it distributes by half.

Child malnutrition and food insecurity

In February, 214,000 children under the age of five were at risk of acute malnutrition, in a country where the mortality rate for this age group is the third highest in the world. The risk is particularly high for displaced children and those living in conflict-affected areas, where access to food, clean water, health care and nutrition services has been severely restricted and food prices have soared. Across the country, 395,000 children under the age of five are chronically malnourished, 40 per cent of all children in this age group – a rate considerably higher than the emergency threshold of 30 per cent. Inadequate nutrition over a long period disrupts their growth. Acute malnutrition is a major public health problem and a leading cause of morbidity and mortality in young children.

Assistance provided

During the first half of 2022, the humanitarian community provided food and nutritional assistance in the form of food rations, nutritional supplements, agricultural tools, seeds and livestock to more than 1.1 million people.

In June 2021, the World Bank approved a three-year US$50 million grant to boost food production and build resilience among pastoralists and other food-insecure households. This funding will provide much-needed support to more than 465,000 food-insecure people through cash-for-work activities, while rehabilitating small-scale agricultural infrastructure in six prefectures in the west, center and the capital Bangui.

Investing in sustainable solutions

Humanitarian partners are also investing in more sustainable solutions for the prevention and treatment of malnutrition, including the promotion of nutritious foods, good feeding practices for infants, children and pregnant and breastfeeding women, and a multisectoral response related to the provision of quality basic social services, including water, sanitation and hygiene, health care and protection.

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Central African Republic

Situation Report
Analysis
Plisson waits her turn to get water from a private supplier. ©OCHA/Maxime Nama, 4th Arrondissement, Bangui, CAR, 2022.
Plisson waits her turn to get water from a private supplier. ©OCHA/Maxime Nama, 4th Arrondissement, Bangui, CAR, 2022.

In search of a rare good

Midnight to 2 am or even 3 am are the off-peak hours when Plisson, a 30-year-old mother of three, often wakes up to fetch water, if there is any. "You can see me during the day all dressed up, but you'll have no idea what I go through at night", she says. This is what often happens in some neighbourhoods of Bangui, the capital of the Central African Republic (CAR), particularly in the fourth district where Plisson, her husband and their three children live. And when there is no water at all from their taps, the family has to pay 200 francs CFA (300 US cents) a day to draw 100 litres of water from private suppliers. Plisson’s family is among the 60 per cent of Central Africans who do not have access to water and adequate sanitation in 2022 according to the Humanitarian Needs Overview published in October 2021. CAR is located in the region with the highest per capita availability of water on the African continent, but only 37 per cent of the population has access to drinking water.

Growing needs

Alida, a 21-year-old mother of three living in Ouifrane village, 7 km from Ndélé in the north of the country, has no choice but to use water from an undeveloped spring for all her daily needs, including drinking and cooking, as she has no tap to draw from. "I know that the water from this spring is not safe to drink and that it can make me sick, but there are no alternatives near our village," says Alida. CAR has the second highest mortality rate from unsafe water use in Africa. Poor access to water, which has mainly structural causes, is exacerbated by the conflict that has been tearing the country apart for more than a decade and is all the more problematic during the dry season, which runs from November to May.

In 2021, water, hygiene and sanitation (WASH) needs increased by 13 per cent in CAR, with an additional 300,000 people requiring assistance to access safe drinking water and sanitation facilities. In total, more than half of the population (2.8 million people) need WASH assistance. People like Alida who live in the Ndélé Sub-prefecture in the north have the most severe needs in the country. This deterioration is due to, among others, the abandonment of water points that are no longer maintained when people flee from insecurity, and the contamination of wells. Added to this is the loss of water collection and storage containers during people’s displacement and vandalism by armed elements when they attack villages.

A source of life

Wearing a khaki waistcoat with the organisation's red logo, it is hard to miss Médard as he passes through the streets of Adoumindou, a village in the north of the country in the Bamingui-Bangoran Prefecture. Médard is a WASH facilitator who educates people on best practices, including the treatment, handling and hygienic storage of drinking water, handwashing with soap and access to clean and safe sanitation. "With my work in the community, I help people to avoid diseases such as cholera and diarrhoea, which are a cause of death, especially for children," says Médard, who works with the NGO Première Urgence Internationale, proudly. In 2021, the NGO built eight wells in the Bamingui-Bangoran Prefecture, improving access to drinking water for 4,000 people. Thanks to the mobilisation of the humanitarian community, the sub-prefectures of Nangha-Boguila, Kémbé, Satema, Bangassou, Bira and Gambo have seen a significant reduction in WASH needs.

A long way to go

In 2021, humanitarians requested US$38 million to assist 1.4 million people but only received 25 per cent of this amount, which benefited 494,700 vulnerable people, or 35 per cent of the planned target. In 2022, humanitarian actors are seeking to mobilise US$34.5 million to improve access to WASH for 1.5 million people. During the first half of 2022, 4.1 million USD (12 per cent) were mobilized to assist 359,096 people.

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Media

The danger of landmines and other explosive devices

Landmines and other explosive devices pose an increasing threat to the people in the Central African Republic (CAR). Civilians are the main victims. Since April 2021, accidents involving explosive devices have increased, particularly in the west of the country, where conflict has intensified. Landmines and other explosive devices kill and maim people and restrict access to farmland, markets, hospitals and schools. They also restrict access of humanitarian workers to those in need of assistance, further exacerbating humanitarian needs in a country where more than half of the population relies on humanitarian assistance. However, United Nations partners and others are working to reduce the risk to people's lives and livelihoods.

For more information on the danger of landmines and other explosive devices in CAR, click here.

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Central African Republic

Situation Report
Visual

Diversifying and strengthening cash transfer programs (CTP) across the response in CAR, January-March 2022

Diversifying and strengthening cash transfer programs (CTP) across the response in CAR, January-March 2022

In accordance with the commitments made in the Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) 2022 and the preferences expressed by the affected populations, humanitarian actors have continued to diversify and strengthen cash transfer programs (CTP) across the response in CAR. The majority of reported cash interventions have been done as part of the food security response, with a significant increase in electronic transfers linked to the use of electronic coupons (E-Voucher) and a decrease in PTM aimed at mitigating the socio-economic effects of Covid-19. The number of beneficiaries reached through cash transfers is lower (-18%) compared to the same period in 2021, but the sum of cash transfers in the first quarter of the year has increased from $5.5 million 2021 to $7 million in 2022. These changes can partly be explained by the significant decrease of Covid-19-related PTM in some locations, including Bangui, the change in targeting approach and the increase in per capita costs, particularly in food security.

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Central African Republic

Situation Report
Analysis
A survivor of gender-based violence participates in a focus group in Zémio, Haut-Mbomou Prefecture. ©OCHA/Virginie Bero, 2020
A survivor of gender-based violence participates in a focus group in Zémio, Haut-Mbomou Prefecture. ©OCHA/Virginie Bero, 2020

Gender-based violence: a scourge with devastating consequences

Gender-based violence has assumed alarming proportions in the Central African Republic (CAR), particularly in the wake of the crisis that has been afflicting the country for several years. This situation is exacerbated by socio-cultural norms that are unfavourable to women and girls, despite the existence of policies and legislation[1]. Since the end of December 2020, new conflict dynamics have worsened the humanitarian situation and degraded the protective environment, reflected in the largest number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) recorded since 2015: 722,000 people were displaced within CAR in October 2021 and 692,000 in December the same year. Moreover, the country has never recorded so many people in need of humanitarian assistance and protection as today: 3.1 million people, including 2.1 million in such severe need that their physical and mental well-being is continuously at risk. Although IDPs and refugees are often the most visible face of the crisis in CAR, gender-based violence (GBV), especially sexual violence, has recently reached particularly worrying levels.

An alarming rise

According to the statistics of the Gender-based Violence Information Management System (GBVIMS) collected at dedicated services covering only 52 per cent of the country’s sub-prefectures, 11,592 GBV have been recorded in 2021, a 26 per cent increase compared to 2020. Moreover, these statistics do not include cases where survivors have not consented to data sharing. Thus, the situation in the whole country could be more worrying. Sexual violence made up a quarter of these GBV cases and a closer look reveals a worrying trend with victims of sexual violence becoming younger and younger. The cases of sexual violence recorded in the first quarter of 2021 increased fivefold compared to the last quarter of 2020, while the percentage of acts allegedly committed by weapon bearers rose from 7 to 23 per cent. The conflict, which intensified in late 2020, has greatly weakened the protection of civilians, while the security situation is marked by new dynamics that increase and change the nature of threats to civilians. Sexual violence is today seen as the main security risk for women and girls, especially for IDPs. In 2021, the Working Group on Monitoring, Analysis and Reporting Arrangements (MARA) on Conflict-related Sexual Violence documented 587 cases of conflict-related sexual violence, a 235 per cent increase compared to 2020 and 211 per cent compared to 2019. 

Overcoming multiple suffering

Survivors of GBV, especially sexual violence – the vast majority women and girls – suffer greatly and in different ways from the violence. In addition to the direct damage and suffering caused by the aggression, survivors have to deal with stigma often reinforced by unfavourable socio-cultural norms, as well as guilt and shame and their consequences, especially for livelihoods. Victims of sexual violence are often afraid or ashamed to return to work in the fields or resume other activities that used to support them and their families, which pushes them into poverty. Access to justice is often not chosen by the victim for fear of stigmatization by the community, or not seeing the process succeed due to lack of trust in the judiciary system, the lack of resources and expertise of the judiciary, or its weak presence, especially in the interior of the country.

Strengthening a holistic response

Survivors of GBV, especially sexual violence, have physical scars to heal, but the suffering this scourge causes socially and psychologically requires further attention, especially psychosocial, socio-economic and legal assistance. Although the structures set up by the humanitarian community in Bangui include all these aspects, this is not yet the case outside the capital. Against this background, and in line with the priorities identified by the GBV Strategy Group, the Humanitarian Coordinator in August 2021 allocated a special envelope of US$ 4 million from the Humanitarian Fund to respond to unmet humanitarian needs and scale up the response in the regions most affected by GBV. In addition to awareness raising among communities and the provision of medical, psychosocial and socio-economic services for survivors, this special fund exceptionally includes legal support for survivors. While all GBV survivors received psychosocial assistance in 2021, only 46 per cent of them received multisectoral assistance covering at least two services, including medical care, legal assistance or socio-economic reintegration. During the same year, humanitarians received only 45 percent of required funds to meet GBV-related needs. Although progress has been achieved in terms of holistic care, the Central African Republic does not have a multisectoral center that can allow survivors to access all types of services as a one stop center. Such facility would increase access to various services in a protective environment, in particular against stigmatization. In 2022, 1.2 million people will need GBV assistance.

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[1] Action Plan of the National Strategy to Combat GBV, 2019 together with the National Strategy to fight GBV, child marriage and female genital mutilation in CAR (2019-2023). National policy for the promotion of gender equality and equity (second edition), 2020.

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Central African Republic

Situation Report
Emergency Response
Displaced children play around traditional wooden canoes on the banks of the Ubangi River, Bangui, CAR. ©OCHA / S. Modola
Displaced children play around traditional wooden canoes on the banks of the Ubangi River, Bangui, CAR. ©OCHA / S. Modola

The new Humanitarian Response Plan 2022 for the Central African Republic

Violence in the Central African Republic (CAR) has ushered in new conflict dynamics in 2021. New threats have emerged, such as explosive devices, new actors have entered the scene, areas previously spared have slit into violence and frontlines have shifted.

Civilians have once again been the main victims of this new wave of violence. Hundreds of thousands of people across the country have been forced to flee, reaching the highest level of displacement recorded since 2014 in September, with 722,000 internally displaced people.

In this context, risks for the protection and survival of Central Africans have multiplied. In 2022, 3.1 million people – 63 per cent of the population – need humanitarian assistance and protection, a level not seen in five years.

In response to the deteriorating humanitarian situation and anticipated risks, the humanitarian community in CAR, through the Humanitarian Response Plan, will provide multi-sectoral assistance to 2 million people in 2022. To assist these people, US$461.3 million will be required. Extraordinary donor support, as in 2021, will be needed more than ever to achieve this.

In 2021, the humanitarian community intensified its response in areas with high needs while striving to respond to shocks effectively and access hard-to-reach areas. 85 per cent of emergency interventions following a violent shock, such as forced displacement, covered several sectors, such as shelter, food, health and water. 36 tonnes of relief items were transported by helicopter to otherwise inaccessible areas. 1.5 million people received cash transfers to cover their basic needs. In total, 1.7 million people received life-saving assistance between January and September 2021, almost twice as many as in 2018.

In 2022, more than ever, protection will be a collective priority integrated into the humanitarian response in CAR. Internally displaced people, women, girls and minorities have proven to be particularly vulnerable.

The humanitarian response in 2022 will be participatory, protective and close to the affected people. First, communities will define with humanitarian actors the most relevant activities to meet their needs and they will be involved throughout implementation and monitoring, in line with the humanitarian community's collective commitment to accountability. Second, the protection imperative will be integrated to ensure that assistance not only does not discriminate or create additional risks for communities, but also detects and responds to gender-based violence and sexual exploitation and abuse. Finally, greater proximity to beneficiaries will be promoted through the decentralisation of humanitarian action and the coordination of efforts with local actors. These three pillars will be the basis for a multi-sectoral intervention in the sub-prefectures where the needs are most acute, while strengthening collaboration with development actors in order to maximise the impact of interventions.

For more information, see the Humanitarian Response Plan 2022 for the Central African Republic (in French).

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Central African Republic

Situation Report
Analysis
Displaced children at the Elevage IDP site in Bambari, Ouaka Prefecture. ©OCHA/S. Modola
Displaced children at the Elevage IDP site in Bambari, Ouaka Prefecture. ©OCHA/S. Modola

Central African Republic: A humanitarian emergency not seen since 2015

The humanitarian emergency in the Central African Republic has reached levels not seen since 2015 due to the new conflict dynamics observed since December 2020. In 2022, 3.1 million people will need humanitarian assistance and protection, 63 per cent of the population. Of these, 2.2 million people will have needs that are so complex and severe, that their physical and mental well-being is at risk. This is an increase of 16 per cent, or 300,000 more people in severe humanitarian needs compared to 2021.

Recurring violence, persistent shocks and the degradation of basic services have significantly worsened the living conditions of Central Africans in 2021. At the same time, people’s resilience continues eroding under the weight of successive crises and economic recession, forcing nearly the entire population to adopt negative coping mechanisms.

These are the findings of a joint multisectoral analysis and an unprecedented consultation effort undertaken by the humanitarian community with the people in need, published in the Humanitarian Needs Overview 2022 for the Central African Republic. The affected people were at the heart of the analysis, with 17,300 households interviewed, including in the most remote corners of the country. They shed light on how the current crisis affects people’s living conditions, services and access, and inform about people’s priority needs.

Exacerbation of needs

The sectors with the largest number of people in need in 2022 are water, hygiene and sanitation (WASH); medical care; protection; and food security, with between 2.4 and 2.8 million people needing assistance to access basic services and goods essential for survival. Of all sectors, the need for WASH has increased the most since last year, with 12 per cent or 300,000 more people needing assistance to access clean water and hygienic sanitation facilities. The risk of diseases and malnutrition has risen as fast as access to water decreases. The number of human rights abuses and violations of international humanitarian law has increased as their nature has changed, with new risks to civilians such as explosive devices or the stigmatisation of entire communities on ethnic or religious grounds, significantly increasing protection needs. In the context of the conflict, food insecurity has worsened due to reduced access to fields, market disruptions and the decline in agricultural production, the main source of livelihoods.

Solid basis for the humanitarian response

To meet people’s needs in 2022, humanitarian actors in collaboration with the Central African government elaborate a common strategy to guide their interventions, based on the insights of the Humanitarian Needs Overview 2022. This strategy will be detailed in the Humanitarian Response Plan 2022 for the Central African Republic, which will be published in December 2021.

Despite generous donor contributions, as of early November, the 2021 Humanitarian Response Plan was funded at just 63 per cent of the US$ 444.8 million required. Humanitarians count on donors’ continued commitment to stand with the Central Africans and enable humanitarian organizations to meet people’s ever-growing needs in 2022. From January to September 2021, humanitarian partners in the Central African Republic provided lifesaving, multisectoral assistance to 1.6 million people, despite the increasingly volatile security context.

Download the Humanitarian Needs Overview 2022 for the Central African Republic here (French). A consolidated version in English is available here.

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Central African Republic

Situation Report
Background
A displaced woman uses one of the new phone booths at the PK3 IDP site in Bria to stay in contact with her family. ©WFP/Elizabeth Millership, Bria, Haute-Kotto Prefecture, CAR, 2021.
A displaced woman uses one of the new phone booths at the PK3 IDP site in Bria to stay in contact with her family. ©WFP/Elizabeth Millership, Bria, Haute-Kotto Prefecture, CAR, 2021.

Giving a voice to those affected by conflict

In the Central African Republic, 3.1 million people need humanitarian assistance and protection. Of these, 2.2 million people have needs that are so complex and severe, their physical and mental well-being is at risk. Evaluations and assessments conducted by humanitarian organizations help to determine the scale of people’s needs, understand those needs, and define response plans. To develop appropriate, community-based programmes, humanitarian actors also collect feedback from affected communities on the assistance they have received. This feedback is crucial, as it places affected people at the centre of humanitarian response. Assistance can then be adjusted and improved, wherever needed.

A cross-cutting issue

As part of the Intercluster Coordination Group (ICCG), the Working Group on Accountability to Affected People (AAP) ensures the establishment and monitoring of collective mechanisms for community engagement and accountability to affected communities. The Working Group produces regular analyses of feedback, complaints, and requests for information from affected people with the aim of identifying trends in satisfaction, priority needs, and preventing the spread of misinformation. The Working Group then advises humanitarian partners through national and regional coordination mechanisms on appropriate actions to take in response to feedback from communities. Where to find assistance? Where to complain if you have been harmed while receiving humanitarian assistance? Where to find the right information? How is humanitarian action perceived in affected communities? These are some of the questions the AAP Working Group helps to answer.

Humanitarian partners have established information and feedback centres at sites for internally displaced people (IDP) in Bria, Kaga-Bandoro and Bambari, all located in central CAR. In so-called ‘listening clubs’, through kiosks selling movies and music, and via interactive radio programmes in Bria, Bambari, Kaga-Bandoro, Bangassou, Obo and Zémio, specially trained staff collect information from communities and in return, provide these communities with information that can save lives. Various assessments carried out this year have shown that people in general, as well as beneficiaries of humanitarian assistance, feel that they are not sufficiently informed about humanitarian assistance, the criteria to receive assistance and access to humanitarian services (Multisectoral Needs Assessment 2021).

Improving feedback and complaint mechanisms

In September 2021, the Emergency Telecommunications Cluster (ETC) supported by the Central African Republic Humanitarian Fund automated the interagency common feedback and complaints mechanisms led by the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) in partnership with the NGO Intersos at an IDP site in Bria, Haute-Kotto Prefecture. Located in eastern CAR, the IDP site – known as PK3 – is home to the country's largest displaced population of nearly 39,000 people (Population Movement Commission, September 2021). Utilizing customer relationship management software also used in the banking sector, trained agents confidentially record complaints and feedback from displaced people on tablets connected to the internet. The information is then automatically transmitted to the humanitarian organisations concerned by the feedback or complaint, significantly speeding up the process. In the past, such processes were carried out manually, for example with notes deposited in suggestion boxes, which limited the feedback mechanism to those who could write and restricted the timeliness of responses.

The ETC has also installed five telephone booths at the IDP site in Bria to allow people affected by the crisis to communicate with their families and to call humanitarian helplines free of charge. Mobile phones are the main means of contact for displaced families. On average, one in five displaced people own a mobile phone, according to an ETC assessment, while four in 10 displaced people pay to make calls. Charging stations for mobile phones have also been set up by the ETC at the PK3 site in Bria that can be used free of charge. By promoting free and safe access to mobile communications, these services provide critical access to information for affected people. In Bria, half of the population faces barriers to receiving information, particularly due to the lack of a radio or a telephone (Multisectoral Needs Assessment 2021).

Further efforts

While displaced people at the PK3 site in Bria now have access to information at their fingertips as well as opportunities to provide feedback on humanitarian assistance, this is not yet the case in other parts of CAR. Staff to support common feedback mechanisms are gradually being trained and infrastructure put in place by the humanitarian community, based on lessons learned and using available resources.

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