Central African Republic

Situation Report

Highlights

  • Tens of thousands flee clashes in Ouham and Ouham-Pendé Prefectures.
  • Thousands of IDPs forced to leave their site in Bambari in the center of the country, after threats followed by serious violations of international humanitarian law.
  • The Ministry of Health reported that 78,695 people were vaccinated against COVID-19 in 10 prefectures and the capital Bangui between 20 May and 23 June 2021.
  • During the first quarter of 2021, humanitarian actors managed to provide assistance to 1.2 million people in an increasingly volatile security context.
  • To meet the most urgent needs in 2021, humanitarian partners plan to assist 1.84 million people, for what they will require US$ 444.7 million.
Mwala Georgette, 24, holds her baby boy, Kuri Isai, nine-months old by a church used to shelter families displaced due to the latest wave of unrest on March 17, 2021 in the capital Bangui. ©OCHA/Siegfried Modola, Bangui, CAR, 2021.
Mwala Georgette, 24, holds her baby boy, Kuri Isai, nine-months old by a church used to shelter families displaced due to the latest wave of unrest on March 17, 2021 in the capital Bangui. ©OCHA/Siegfried Modola, Bangui, CAR, 2021.

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Central African Republic

Situation Report

Key Figures

4.9M
Population
2.8M
People in need of humanitarian assistance
1.84M
People targeted for assistance in 2021
1.6M
People assisted in 2020
2.29M
Food-insecure people (Apr-Aug 2021)
717K
Internally displaced people (30 June 2021)
701K
Central African refugees
11163
COVID-19 cases
98
COVID-19-related deaths

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Central African Republic

Situation Report

Funding

$444.8M
Required
$211.9M
Received
48%
Progress
FTS

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Contacts

Vedaste KALIMA

Head of Office

Maxime NAMA CIRHIBUKA

Head of Public Information

Anita CADONAU

Reporting Officer

Central African Republic

Situation Report
Background
Food distribution in Ndim to people who had fled the current crisis. ©OCHA/Odilon Nzango, Ndim, Ouham-Péndé Prefecture, CAR, July 2021.
Food distribution in Ndim to people who had fled the current crisis. ©OCHA/Odilon Nzango, Ndim, Ouham-Péndé Prefecture, CAR, July 2021.

Clashes in Ouham and Ouham-Pendé displace tens of thousands

Clashes between armed groups and the Central African Armed Forces, supported by bilateral forces, along the north-westerly border have forced several ten thousands of women, men and children to flee. Their precarious living conditions have further deteriorated and basic needs for protection, water, food and healthcare continue to soar, in a region where 80 per cent of the population needed humanitarian assistance already before the current turmoil.

The situation at the border between the Central African Republic, Chad and Cameroon remains volatile and a number of sub-prefectures are affected, notably Koui, Ngaoundaye, Paoua, Markounda, Batangafo and Kabo. People move back and forth between places of refuge – the surrounding bush, neighbouring villages and towns across the border – and their homes and fields, in constant search of protecting their lives and livelihoods.

Acts of violence against civilians, including physical assaults, lootings, sexual and gender-based violence and robberies are widespread, as are attacks against civilian infrastructure, such as schools and hospitals, as well as humanitarian workers.

A significant rise in sexual and gender-based violence targets women and girls, particularly in the fields, forests and en route, underlying the risk they face when going about daily chores and agriculture. Analysis from May highlights the protection crisis for women and girls in Markounda, where nearly 60 per cent of the 86 cases of gender-based violence registered were rapes, of which 92 per cent were committed by armed elements.

Access restrictions

The insecurity in the north-western border region severely restricts access for humanitarians to the most vulnerable, including the elderly, single-headed families and people with disabilities. The risk of attacks by armed groups and crime rates are high. In June 2021, Ouham and Ouham Pendé prefectures were the most affected by incidents against humanitarians with 11 and 6 incidents, respectively. A civilian was killed and three injured, including a humanitarian, in an ambush on the transfer of patients to a medical facility supported by Médecins sans frontières (MSF) in Batangafo. As this was the third such incident within a few weeks, MSF suspended medical assistance on the axes. Trucks bound for Bocaranga and Ndim, delivering food on behalf of the World Food Programme (WFP), have also been blocked due to the persistent risk of attacks.

The increased threat of explosive devices since April and physical access restrictions such as collapsed bridges and impassable roads during the current rainy season further complicate humanitarian access.

Assisting those in hard-to-reach areas

In an emergency response on 21 June, UNHCR, UNICEF, WFP, OCHA and the NGO Action contre la faim flew a three-month supply of medications and nutritional supplements for 10,000 people to Bang and Ngaouandaye in Ouham-Pendé, thanks to the availability of a helicopter from the UN Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS). Soap, hygiene products and water purification tabs were also distributed to the most vulnerable, including pregnant women and mothers of small children.

In mid-June, two helicopter rotations operated by humanitarian partners to Bocaranga assisted 1,000 displaced families with 1.3 tons of water treatment tabs, hygiene products, medication, nutritional supplements and post-exposure prophylaxis kits for 25 survivors of sexual violence. These flights also enabled an international organisation to conduct a needs assessment in Ndim, which revealed dire needs for protection, water, food and healthcare. The UN peacekeeping mission MINUSCA facilitated the humanitarian flights by providing fuel and securing the airstrips.

Despite the insecurity, UNHCR and IOM could assist 600 families who returned after having fled clashes in Bélé et Gangan on two outlying axes of Paoua with essential household items and hygiene products on 8 and 13 July.

Continued displacement

In Kabo and Sido in Ouham, nearly 21,000 people were newly displaced between the end of April and June. Some 36,000 newly and previously displaced people could be reached with WFP food assistance in the two localities in late June. Humanitarians attend to patients at the MSF-supported local hospital, refer survivors of sexual and gender-based violence for medical care and monitor and record protection incidents. More than 302,000 people need humanitarian assistance in the region, making Ouham the prefecture with the second highest number of people in need in 2021. Among them are 83,000 people in severe acute food insecurity.

In June, an estimated 30,000 people were displaced in the Ngaoundaye, Bocaranga and Koui sub-prefectures due to military operations that have been ongoing since March and clashes at the border with Chad at the end of May. In addition to the assistance provided in June by air, humanitarian partners continue mobilizing to provide food and basic household items to the most vulnerable, improve water supply and provide the hospital with urgently needed medications. Humanitarian actors have scaled up preposition of food, medicines, nutrition, non-food and other critical relief items. Access to water also remains a major concern in Ngaoundaye, where less than half of the town’s 17 boreholes are functional and the consumption of unsafe water puts people’s health at risk.

Insecurity across the north-west considerably limits people’s freedom to move, and hence their ability to obtain a sufficient and balanced nutrition through agriculture, hunting, trade and purchase. People in Ndim remain within a five-kilometre perimeter from town for fear of attacks and exactions – a situation characteristic for many towns in the region. As a consequence, food prices have sharply increased in Bocaranga, Paoua, Markounda and Kabo in mid-June compared to May due to supply challenges – up to 75 per cent for corn – in a region, where four out of five sub-prefectures had already attained the emergency phase of food insecurity in May.

To improve food security where access to fields is possible, the NGO OXFAM distributed in mid-July seeds and tools to 300 families in Pougol, Nzéréké and Benamkor near Paoua. Each farming family received 18 kg of cowpea and 1 kg of sesame seeds, and tarps, containers and bags to preserve their harvest. To accompany these farmers, 20 members of the community were trained on the specifics of these plants to maximize harvests.

Food security in the north-west risks to further deteriorate during this lean season, if insecurity and access restrictions persist.

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Central African Republic

Situation Report
Emergency Response
IDPs in the mosque compound in Bambari, Ouaka Prefecture. ©UNHCR/Hyppolyte Togogo, CAR, June 2021.
IDPs in the mosque compound in Bambari, Ouaka Prefecture. ©UNHCR/Hyppolyte Togogo, CAR, June 2021.

8,500 internally displaced people forced to leave the Elevage site in Bambari

More than 8,500 people who lived at the Elevage IDP site in Bambari in the Ouaka Prefecture in the center of the country, most of them ethnic Fulani, were once again forcefully displaced to the city’s neighborhoods. On 4 June, armed elements threatened IDPs at the site and committed serious international humanitarian law violations. Two days later, the Elevage site was set on fire in circumstances that remain to be clarified. Fearing for their safety, some of the residents of Mbiande and Kombélé, villages located 20 km from Bambari on the Bambari-Ippy axis, also moved to Mbagolo in the same period. 5,900 of the IDPs from the Elevage site today live in close promiscuity on the premises of the mosque in Bambari and more than 2,000 others in host families, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

Responding to urgent needs 

A rapid needs assessment conducted on 7 June by humanitarian partners OCHA, UNHCR, WFP, Triangle (TGH), INTERSOS, ACTED, COOPI and PARET found that the displaced people urgently needed water, basic household items, food, education and protection. On the same day, an international organization started distributing 40,000 liters of water per day to IDPs at the mosque and in surrounding neighborhoods, as well as to host communities. The NGOs MSF and TGH set up nine latrines in the mosque, in addition to the three that existed, and provided disinfectants and hand washing facilities. MSF also ensures sanitation at the mosque, using a dedicated site identified by the authorities for waste disposal. The NGO COOPI, with the support from the World Food Programme (WFP), distributed on 9 June 8.9 tons of high-energy biscuits, representing a three-day ration, followed by the distribution of food stamps for a one-month ration for all 8,500 IDPs. More than 400 children also received nutritional supplements from WFP. The IDPs hosted at the mosque also received non-food items from UNHCR, including tarpaulins, mosquito nets, cooking utensils and soap. To ensure IDPs access to health services, MSF relocated its malaria treatment center to the mosque, which the NGO had run at the Elevage site before it was set on fire. IMC and MSF also continue their usual support for the city's health facilities where IDPs can access free healthcare. Promoting reproductive health, the NGO AID with support from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), distributed sanitary products, including sanitary pads, towels, buckets, soap and loincloth to 100 vulnerable women. In response to suspected measles cases among IDPs at the mosque and a confirmed case in the neighborhoods, MSF vaccinated more than 2,380 children aged 6 months to 15 years.

The school at the Elevage IDP site was destroyed in the fire and the one on the mosque premises serves as a refuge for IDPs, leaving more than 800 children without access to education. In response, the local education board and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) integrated the majority of students into nearby schools, where they are currently taking end-of-year exams. The NGOs APADE and JRS distributed school supplies to nearly 2,700 children, including the IDPs. Despite these efforts to keep children in school, cases of school dropouts have been noted but their extent remains to be determined. 

On 11 June, the Humanitarian Coordinator allocated US$ 12 million from the Humanitarian Fund to cover urgent needs in areas of high vulnerability and where the resurgence of violence has exacerbated humanitarian and protection needs. This funding enabled IDP camp coordination and management (CCCM) and the provision of non-food items to the displaced people in Bambari. 

Protection remains the biggest concern

While the IDPs need assistance, their protection remains a major concern. Some of them feel threatened by attacks from armed groups, making host families less inclined to offer them a shelter. The NGO INTERSOS monitors protection incidents at the mosque compound and in other areas hosting IDPs, while MercyCorps implements gender-based violence (GBV) prevention activities. With the support from UNICEF, the NGO Espérance is setting up mobile child-friendly spaces which provide fun-inspired psychosocial support services to children and educate their parents on protection issues.

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Central African Republic

Situation Report
Coordination
Central African Red Cross volunteers prepare for disasters
A view of the participants in team work. © OCHA / Alban M'Boligassihe, Bangui, RCA, 2021.

Central African Red Cross volunteers prepare for disasters

Every year during the rainy season, the Central African Republic experiences a series of floods. In the capital Bangui, this natural hazard particularly affects the districts along the Oubangui River. In 2019, floods caused significant material damage and displaced around 100,000 people. Some 10,000 houses were destroyed and more than 500 wells and 1,500 latrines were flooded. Numerous infrastructures and large agricultural areas were destroyed in eight prefectures and in Bangui. This disaster has further aggravated the already deplorable humanitarian situation and created additional needs. Humanitarians provided multisectoral assistance to the affected people, including emergency shelter, food, water, hygiene and sanitation.

Learning from past experience

The extensive impacts of the floods that occurred highlighted coordination problems in terms of standardising the data provided by different actors, the lack of people trained in post-disaster assessments and missing assessment guidelines. The lack of a common data storage and management platforms, including for example mapping, was also noticed.

In response, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), in collaboration with the NGO REACH and the International Federation of the Red Cross, reinforced from 29 June to 3 July the capacity of 20 volunteers from the Central African Red Cross and the Directorate General of Civil Protection on post-disaster assessment. In the Central African Republic, these volunteers are considered first responders in the community for various emergency situations, including disasters, and have excellent knowledge of the local context.

Participants of the training discussed the rationale behind the methodology and results of humanitarian assessments, the design of questionnaires and the guiding principles of humanitarian action. Afterwards, participants will learn how to use the interviewers' guide and simplified data collection on a dedicated sheet, before using the 'Kobo collect' application installed in each of the 20 tablets that REACH provides the participants at the end of the training.

For better preparedness

In support of the authorities in their primary mission to ensure the well-being of the population, in 2020, OCHA supported a study carried out by REACH on susceptibility to flooding in populated areas. The findings of the study were presented to the authorities, including the mapping of the most vulnerable areas; to better inform their decisions.

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Central African Republic

Situation Report
Visual

Overview of incidents affecting humanitarian workers in June 2021

Overview of incidents affecting humanitarian workers in June 2021

The Central African Republic is one of the most dangerous places for humanitarian personnel with 267 incidents affecting humanitarian workers in the first six months of 2021 compared to 192 during the same period in 2020. The civilian population bears the brunt of the prolonged tensions and increased armed violence in several parts of the country. As for the month of June 2021, the number of incidents affecting humanitarian workers has increased (37 incidents against 28 in May and 34 in April). High levels of insecurity continue to hinder humanitarian access in several prefectures such as Nana-Mambéré, Ouham Pendé, Basse-Kotto and Ouaka. The prefectures of Ouham (11 incidents), Ouham Pendé (6 incidents) and Basse-Kotto (4 incidents) were the most affected in June. A humanitarian was injured in an ambush when transferring patients to a medical facility in Batangafo and another one was injured by a stray bullet during the recent armed clashes in Alindao. Theft, robbery, lootings, threats and assaults accounted for more than half of the incidents (59 per cent) in June, followed by interferences and restrictions (31 per cent).

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Central African Republic

Situation Report
Feature
  The Ministry of Health Pierre Somse received the COVID-19 vaccination at the kick-off ceremony of the national vaccination campaign in the capital Bangui. ©MINISTRY OF HEALTH/Jean-Louis DA, Bangui, CAR, 2021.
The Ministry of Health Pierre Somse received the COVID-19 vaccination at the kick-off ceremony of the national vaccination campaign in the capital Bangui. ©MINISTRY OF HEALTH/Jean-Louis DA, Bangui, CAR, 2021.

COVID-19 vaccination campaign launch

The Central African Government on 20 May 2021 launched 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. The Ministry of Health reported that 78,685 people were vaccinated in 19 health districts between 20 May and 23 June. Frontline health personnel, vulnerable people aged 50 and above, religious leaders, traders, community liaison volunteers, transporters and journalists were targeted by the campaign. The country benefits from the global roll-out of vaccines through the COVAX facility with at least 372,000 doses, according to the latest distribution forecast, in additional to bilateral donations that have been announced. On 6 July, the Central African Republic (CAR) received for example 150,000 doses of the Sinovac vaccine through bilateral support from the Government of China.

The United Nations on 21 April 2021 started a vaccination campaign for its personnel and staff from eligible international NGOs in CAR as part of its duty of care. As of 21 July, 14,990 staff members had already received at least their first dose of the vaccine.

Response to the second 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 has hit the country since mid-March. Stricter barrier measures at gathering places such as restaurants, bars, places of worship, weddings and funerals, and public transport would been announced, as well as their more rigorous reinforcement.

As of 29 July 2021, the Ministry of Health has recorded 11,163* COVID-19 cases, including 98 deaths. In the first four months of 2021, six times as many cases were confirmed as in the last four months of 2020 – 1,571 cases compared to 259 – and the death toll has risen by 44 per cent from 63 to 91. The worsening of the epidemic concerns the entire country. Several towns that were previously spared have also reported cases, including Kabo (Ouham Prefecture), Kouango (Ouaka), Bangassou (Mbomou), Ndélé (Bamingui-Bangoran), Birao (Vakaga) and Obo (Haut-Mbomou). Beyond the urban areas, COVID-19 is spreading deep into the villages. 

Conducive environment

A recent 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

The Central African Republic 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 2.5 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 207,000 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. Over 375,000 people received US$ 11.6 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, 60,228 people have been tested for COVID-19 as of 25 July 2021.

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Central African Republic

Situation Report
Trends
A peacekeeper is analysing a location where explosive devices were found in April on the Bocaranga-Bouar road in the west. ©MINUSCA, CAR, 2021.
A peacekeeper is analysing a location where explosive devices were found in April on the Bocaranga-Bouar road in the west. ©MINUSCA, CAR, 2021.

The growing threat of explosive devices

Accidents involving explosive ordnance have taken on increasing proportions since mid-April 2021, particularly in the west of the Central African Republic, a region where conflict has intensified.

An alarming rise

On 22 June, four people were killed by the detonation of an explosive device between Garba and Bakari villages, 115 km from Bouar in the Nana-Mambéré Prefecture. On 20 June, a herder and several of his cattle were killed by the detonation of a device west of Amada-Gaza in the Mambéré-Kadéï Prefecture, and on 12 June, three people were allegedly killed in the border region with Chad in the Ouham Pendé Prefecture.

Fearing for their safety, the inhabitants of Nguia in the southwest of Bouar in Nana-Mambéré, estimated at a thousand people, fled across the border to Cameroun after a device exploded in their village on 28 May. Since the incident, the village has been inaccessible by road due to the suspected threat of other explosive devices. The previous day, on 27 May, five members of a joint team of Central African security forces and bilateral forces were killed and five injured when their vehicles hit a roadside explosive device near Bondiba on the Abba – Baboua axis. And on 26 May, two UN peacekeepers sustained injuries and their armoured vehicle was heavily damaged when it hit an explosive device during a patrol in Kiamoni village near the Cameroonian border in Mambéré-Kadéï.

Between 20 April and 16 May 2021, explosive devices killed at least 11 people, including eight civilians, and injured four in five accidents in Nana-Mambéré alone.

Without distinction

The victims are diverse: a family, 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.

Some incidents involving explosive devices were also reported from other parts of the Central African Republic. But the main focus of the recent increase remains on the west, notably Nana-Mambéré, Mambéré-Kadéï and Ouham Pendé on the border with Cameroon.

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.

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 constraints. The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) estimates that more than 50,000 people in Nana-Mambéré are in dire need of water, sanitation and shelter assistance, more than 1,500 malnourished children are waiting to receive food supplements and 5,800 others need vaccination but cannot be reached due to the threat of suspected explosive devices. Various axes in Nana-Mambéré, Mambéré-Kadéï and Ouham Pendé have been considered high risk due to the suspected presence of explosive devices and remain practically impassable for humanitarians and civilians alike, including between Bouar and Ngaounday, Abba and Baboua and in the area of Amada-Gaza.

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, OCHA and humanitarian partners in mid-June delivered relief supplies by helicopter to Nguia-Bouar. Some 1.5 tons of medicine, nutritional supplements, hygiene products and food reached the 1,000 villagers, including nearly 400 internally displaced people, to satisfy the most urgent needs and replenish the local health center. As if the threat of suspected explosive ordnance was not enough, Nguia has been further isolated by clashes between armed groups and military forces. Similar helicopter missions will likely be organized to the region in the coming weeks and months.

Protecting civilians and humanitarian workers

In May, explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) teams from the UN peacekeeping mission MINUSCA surveyed and cleared the Baboua – Bondiba – Nguia-Bouar axis parallel to the Cameroonian border and other suspected hazardous areas along the Bouar – Bocaranga axis – a slow and dangerous process. The United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) has trained nearly 500 United Nations and NGO personnel in Bouar, Paoua and Bangui on the risks of explosive ordnance and appropriate behaviour. UNMAS and MINUSCA are further enhancing their capacities over the coming months to better respond to the threat.

Additional funds are now urgently needed to resume risk education for women, men and children who live in the affected regions. The Protection Cluster is advocating for the resumption of mine risk education for the population; an activity that NGOs undertook between 2014 and 2018 in the Central African Republic.

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Visual

Overview of population movements as of 30 June 2021

Overview of population movements as of 30 June 2021

As of 30 June 2021, the total number of internally displaced people (IDPs) in CAR is estimated at 716,678 individuals. The majority (72%) live with host families and 28% found refuge at IDP sites. The overall trend in June 2021 indicates a decrease of 10,483 IDPs (-1.4%) compared to the previous month of May where the total number of IDPs was estimated at 727,161 people.

The total number of IDPs increased continuously from December 2020 to February 2021 in the context of the electoral and post-electoral crisis. In March and April 2021, more displaced people returned to their homes than were newly displaced. The month of May presents a particular scenario with almost as many new displacements in the country’s hotspots as return movements to locations where security is relatively stable.

In June 2021, 28,790 new IDPs were registered, mainly in the sub-prefectures of Ndele, Koui, Bocaranga, Bangui, Bimbo, Zemio, Alindao and Kaga-Bandoro. Tensions at the border with Chad in the sub-prefecture of Ngaoundaye, military operations by the Central African Armed Forces (FACA) and their allies against armed groups and fear of abuses committed by armed groups during their flight are the main causes of these new displacements. Some people flee preventively for fear of imminent clashes.

39,273 returnees were registered in June in the sub-prefectures of Ippy, Paoua, Zemio, Bangassou, Rafai, Batongafo and the Greater Bangui. After FACA took over towns that had been occupied by armed groups, gradual returns of the population have been registered in some regions. Most of these returns were observed within the administrative borders of the sub-prefectures where the people had been displaced.

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Visual

Humanitarian dashboard - 2021 1st Quarter

Humanitarian dashboard - 1st Quarter

During the first quarter of 2021, humanitarian actors in the Central African Republic managed to provide assistance to 1.2 million people in an increasingly volatile security context. The upsurge in armed conflicts and intercommunal violence since mid-December have had a multiplier effect on forced or preventive movements of communities already weakened by years of conflict. As of 30 April, nearly 730,000 people were internally displaced, the majority with host families or in more than 120 sites. Humanitarian aid helped mitigate the immediate effects of food insecurity and malnutrition, provide people with shelter, water, hygiene and health services, and protect an increasingly vulnerable population.

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Central African Republic

Situation Report
Emergency Response
One of the electricity pylons in Danzi village that fell during the torrential rains on 23 April 2021. ©Third party, Danzi, CAR, 2021.
One of the electricity pylons in Danzi village that fell during the torrential rains on 23 April 2021. ©Third party, Danzi, CAR, 2021.

Severe weather conditions plunged Bangui into darkness for weeks

Fifty houses collapsed and eighty were severely damaged on 23 April 2021 in Kodozilo and Danzi villages, 20 kilometers north of the capital Bangui, during a storm with heavy rain. More than 130 families were affected by the severe weather and five people were injured in collapsing houses or by debris blown away by the strong wind. Food stocks and seeds that should have been planted in the coming weeks were also destroyed.

The rainy season has barely begun but has already hit the Central African Republic hard. The torrential rains on 23 April not only affected the people in Kodozilo and Danzi, but also plunged the entire capital into darkness for weeks and made water an even scarcer commodity in a country where only one in three people has access to clean water. The storm damaged several electricity towers in Danzi, which are part of the infrastructure providing electricity from the Boali power station to Bangui, 50 kilometers away.

More frequent and more severe

Natural hazards turning into disasters are becoming more frequent and more severe in the Central African Republic. In October 2019, nearly 100,000 people were affected by floods, including 33,000 in Bangui, a city built on the banks of the Oubangui River. Humanitarians provided multisectoral emergency assistance and most of the displaced were able to return home. In 2020, 22,000 people were affected by floods in eight prefectures and in the capital.

In the dark and in the dry

The damage caused to the electricity towers could not be repaired immediately. The electricity provider Energie Centrafricaine (ENERCA) announced that the power supply to Bangui and neighboring Bimbo would be interrupted for at least ten days. Electricity has always been a scarce commodity in Bangui and the country, with only 32 per cent of the population having access to electricity. People in most neighborhoods of the capital are used to having electricity for a few hours a day, with prolonged interruptions due to recurrent outages, others are not connected to the grid at all or electricity costs remain prohibitive, and people have learned to live with it.

Impact on health facilities

But electricity and water are far from being luxury goods in the health sector. The power outage had serious consequences for the functioning of health facilities in the capital and in Bimbo, although ENERCA had set up a back-up system with fuel-powered generators for essential services, including hospitals and telecommunication. The electricity supply to 75 per cent of the main hospitals and health centres – 12 out of 16 health facilities – was completely interrupted or regularly cut off due to a lack of fuel or functioning generators. The city's water supply was also disrupted due to the reliance on electricity for water treatment and distribution. More than half of the 16 main health facilities in Bangui and Bimbo – nine out of 16 – had their water supply interrupted, with serious implications for hygiene, for example. The water shortage dried up entire neighborhoods for several days.

Rapid humanitarian response

The National Water and Sanitation Agency distributed water with trucks to neighborhoods. Humanitarian partners who regularly support the main hospitals in Bangui and Bimbo responded immediately and repaired generators and provided additional fuel, keeping essential health services running. The World Bank committed to providing generators to ensure the continued management of COVID-19 cases in specialized treatment centers. Under the coordination of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), humanitarian and development partners have been working around the clock with the government to identify solutions to fill gaps and ensure the provision of electricity and water to health facilities. The UN peacekeeping mission MINUSCA provided a team of engineers, materials and equipment to speed up ENERCA's repair work on the electricity towers in Danzi village. MINUSCA also provided a high-capacity generator to SODECA to make the pumps running and enable water distribution. The power supply to the capital has been partially restored and repair works are continuing until the capital is adequately lit again.

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Central African Republic

Situation Report
Feature
A family displaced by recent post-election violence has arrived at a new site for internally displaced people in Batangafo and is unpacking the few belongings it was able to take along. ©OCHA/Adrienne Surprenant, Batangafo, Ouham Prefecture, CAR, 2021.
A family displaced by recent post-election violence has arrived at a new site for internally displaced people in Batangafo and is unpacking the few belongings it was able to take along. ©OCHA/Adrienne Surprenant, Batangafo, Ouham Prefecture, CAR, 2021.

Alarming rise in displacement across the Central African Republic

A surge in violence has displaced over 276,000 people within the Central African Republic. More than half of the displaced have returned in recent weeks but 129,000 people remain displaced inside the country. Most live in deplorable conditions in the bushes surrounding their villages in fear of renewed attacks. And new people are forced to flee almost every day with no end in sight to the current crisis. In addition to the internally displaced, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has registered more than 45,000 newly arrived refugees in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Cameroon, Chad and the Republic of Congo.

This new wave of violence and displacement began in mid-December ahead of the general elections and adds on to decades of armed violence, which was topped last year with the Covid-19 pandemic, increasing humanitarian needs in the Central African Republic to new heights. While this latest armed offensive was launched in the west, attacks and displacement have since spread across the country, affecting also the center and south-east and sparing only few regions.

Deplorable living conditions and urgent humanitarian needs

Most displaced people have found temporary refuge in fields and forests near their towns, which they consider safer. Some return to their homes during the day to fetch household items or personal belongings or in search of food and water, only to return to the fields for the night. Others have found protection at schools, in churches, near the bases of UN peacekeepers or with host families.

In view of ongoing violence, protection is among the displaced people’s most urgent needs. Sexual violence against women and girls and child protection issues such as unaccompanied and separated children and forced recruitment have been reported. Humanitarian assessments further show that food, primary healthcare, water and sanitation, basic household items and shelter are the most pressing humanitarian needs. Even before the most recent displacement crisis, one in four Central Africans, nearly 1.3 million people, were displaced in the country or across its borders.

Saving lives under most difficult conditions

Despite the growing insecurity in many parts of the country, humanitarian partners have been scaling up their efforts to save lives and provide emergency response assistance to the displaced and those most in need. They support hospitals with medical teams and essential medicines, supply people with drinking water, distribute food and build latrines to prevent the spread of diseases. The volatile security context demands highest flexibility and readiness from humanitarians.

In early January, obstructed road access to Dékoa in the central Kémo Prefecture was overcome thanks to a helicopter and 2,000 families displaced by armed groups’ attacks could be provided with water purification tablets, high energy biscuits and medicines. A rapid needs assessment under the lead of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) during the same mission provided the basis for other humanitarian partners who scaled up the response in Dékoa in the days after. The UN World Food Programme (WFP) provided food assistance to over 10,000 families, the NGOs Médecins d’Afrique (MDA) resumed its nutritional support and Médecins du Monde (MDM) established a presence in Dékoa to support access to health care and psychosocial services and to support survivors of sexual and gender-based violence, including the most vulnerable displaced outside the city. In addition to Dékoa, humanitarians have reached four other hard-to-access areas by helicopter since mid-December – Bouca and Batangafo (Ouham Prefecture), Dimbi (Basse-Kotto) and Ouango (Mbomou) – to deploy rapid assessments teams and to deliver much needed humanitarian cargo.

In the western town of Bouar in Nana-Mambéré Prefecture, humanitarian organizations assist 12,500 newly displaced people, the majority of whom now live in churches and parishes. Water pumps are being repaired and bladders installed to cater for the increased demand of drinking water at those displacement sites. High energy biscuits, flour, beans, oil and salt are being distributed, health facilities are supplied with essential medicines and nutritional supplements to treat children suffering from malnutrition.

And in Bangassou, in the south-eastern Mbomou Prefecture, humanitarians await with stoical calmness each safety window that allows them to reach displaced people. They have already assisted 15,000 people with food and water, shelters and emergency latrines and nutrition support for malnourished children, including at the Cesacoba sites and other displacement sites in and around Bangassou.

In Batangafo in the north-western Ouham Prefecture, where 30,000 internally displaced people had been living at sites before the current crisis, over 600 people arrived since January 2021, fleeing the upsurge of violence in Bouca, where most of them were already displaced. Thanks to access by helicopter, humanitarian partners ensured that those people have access to water and received essential household items and hygiene products.

Humanitarians face more challenges than ever

Despite major achievements in assisting people in these difficult times, the work of humanitarians is getting more and more challenging. While the population is the main victim of the conflict, humanitarians have been increasingly targeted, including with offices being looted and vehicles stolen. The month of December 2020 has seen 59 incidents against humanitarian personnel and property, including an aid worker killed and five others injured – almost double the monthly average of incidents recorded in 2020. January 2021 has continued in the same precarious way with 66 incidents recorded, the highest ever.

The disruption of the country’s main supply route connecting the capital Bangui with Cameroon prevents the safe and timely delivery of vital aid. Over 500 trucks with critical UN and partners’ supplies, including food and medicines, have been stuck at the Cameroonian border since mid-December, along with over 1,100 trucks transporting commercial goods. These constraints on an already fragile food supply are again driving up the prices of basic food commodities and jeopardize the lives of those 1.9 million Central Africans already food insecure. Furthermore, the state of emergency declared on 21 January 2021 has been extended for six months until early August, in addition to a countrywide curfew (20:00 to 5:00) put in place after an attempted attack on the capital Bangui on 13 January, with restrictive effects on humanitarian access to people in need.

As of 17 March 2021, only 16 per cent of the Humanitarian Response Plan for the Central African Republic were funded, at a time when humanitarian needs are more pressing than ever. Urgent funding is required to sustain principled and effective humanitarian response.

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Central African Republic

Situation Report
Emergency Response
©OCHA/Anita Cadonau, Bangui, CAR, 2020.
©OCHA/Anita Cadonau, Bangui, CAR, 2020.

The Humanitarian Response Plan 2021 for the Central African Republic

To meet the needs of the Central African population in 2021, humanitarian actors plan to provide an inclusive, protective and humanitarian-based response to 1.84 million extremely vulnerable people. The response, based on a common understanding of humanitarian needs, will primarily target people affected by shocks linked to violence and natural hazards, and those living in areas with the most urgent humanitarian needs, including in hard-to-reach areas. To achieve this, humanitarians will require US$444.7 million. The strategy that will guide their response is detailed in the Humanitarian Response Plan 2021. As of 17 March 2021, only 16 per cent of this plan are funded at a time when humanitarian needs are extremely alarming. Since violence and tensions related to the December 2020 elections erupted, almost 200,000 people have been internally displaced. Half of them have returned, but 100,000 people are still displaced.

The Humanitarian Needs Overview for the Central African Republic, published in October 2020, tells us that more than half of the Central African Republic's population needs humanitarian assistance and protection in 2021. Among them, 1.9 million people have acute needs related to their physical and mental survival.

The Humanitarian Response Plan 2021 is structured around three strategic objectives. Each of them aims to address one of the three most critical humanitarian consequences identified in the Humanitarian Needs Overview. The response will mitigate the impact of the crisis on people's physical and mental well-being, living conditions and protection. Within this framework, 1.4 million people will benefit from timely and integrated multi-sectoral emergency assistance, in cash or in kind, needed to address the most critical issues related to their physical and mental well-being. Some 1.2 million women, men, girls and boys affected by the crisis will improve their living conditions through dignified and tailored assistance provided in a timely and protective environment. And thirdly, the protection and respect of the human rights of 1.3 million crisis-affected people will be ensured.

The humanitarian response in the Central African Republic in 2021 will be developed as close as possible to and with the people affected, listening to their concerns, priorities and grievances. Humanitarians will pay particular attention to the voices of women, people with disabilities and the elderly to ensure that their specific vulnerabilities are considered and interventions are adapted.

To find out more, see the Humanitarian Response Plan 2021 for the Central African Republic.

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Central African Republic

Situation Report
Forecast
The Humanitarian Needs Overview 2021 reveals a further deterioration of the humanitarian situation across all sectors. ©NRC/C. Igara, CAR, 2020.
The Humanitarian Needs Overview 2021 reveals a further deterioration of the humanitarian situation across all sectors. ©NRC/C. Igara, CAR, 2020.

The survival of 1.9 million people in the Central African Republic is at risk

In 2021, 2.8 million Central Africans – 57 per cent of the population estimated at 4.9 million – will need humanitarian assistance and protection. Of those, three-quarters have acute needs. In other words, the survival of 1.9 million people, or 39 per cent of the population, is at risk. The Humanitarian Needs Overview 2021 for the Central African Republic, the result of an unparalleled data collection and extensive analysis, shows a further deterioration of the humanitarian situation across all sectors.

The figures reveal the dramatic consequences of a pandemic in a country already ravaged by decades of armed conflict, underdevelopment and where natural disasters are becoming more frequent and severe. The figures also reveal the grim daily life the majority in the country, who live in such difficult conditions that they are struggling to feed themselves. Even those who have enough food find it difficult to find decent housing or to get their children an education. The data also shows that there is a danger of humanitarian actors disengaging when development actors are slow to take over.

The humanitarian situation continues to worsen

Since last year, the number of people in need has increased from 2.6 million to 2.8 million (+8 per cent). Meanwhile, the number of people with acute needs is 12 per cent higher than in 2020 (with 1.9 million people in 2021 compared to 1.7 million in 2020). In the past five years, there have never been as many people in humanitarian distress in the Central African Republic as today. This increase is a direct consequence of the downward plunge of the economy, the spreading of the violent conflict, rising food insecurity and the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Central African Republic continues to face a serious protection crisis, with a steady increase in violations of human rights and international humanitarian law despite the signing of the Political Agreement for Peace and Reconciliation in 2019. Those who suffer most are not those fighting, but rather the civilians. One in four Central Africans are displaced either within the country or in a neighboring country, and the return of internally displaced people and refugees has slowed down considerably.

Gender-based violence is a plague, with one incident reported every hour by the humanitarian alert system, which covers only 42 per cent of the country – and these figures are only the tip of the iceberg. Humanitarian actors have recorded an almost two-fold increase in the number of cases of violence against girls and women as a result of restrictions related to COVID-19. Across the Central African Republic, children continue to be exposed to risks. One in four families fears for the safety of its children, mainly in relation to sexual violence, forced labor and recruitment by armed groups.

The sector with the most people in need is thus protection, followed by health, water, hygiene and sanitation and food security. 40 per cent of Central African households are in a situation of acute food insecurity. In the capital of Bangui, the number of food insecure people has almost doubled since last year, now affecting 45 per cent of the population. The number of people in need in 2021 has increased in all sectors except nutrition, where there has been a slight decrease.

The Central African Republic is also one of the most dangerous countries for humanitarians in the world. On average, more than one incident per day affecting humanitarian workers was recorded in 2020 (424 in total), with three aid workers killed and 29 injured.

The next steps

To meet the population’s needs in 2021, humanitarian actors in the Central African Republic in collaboration with the government develop a common strategy to guide their interventions, detailed in the Humanitarian Response Plan 2021, published in December 2020.

Despite generous donor contributions, as of October 2020, the current Humanitarian Response Plan is funded at just over half of the US$ 553.6 million required. To enable humanitarians to meet the ever-growing needs of the population in 2021, they are counting on donors’ commitment to stand by those Central Africans who cannot meet their basic needs.

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