HALF the population in the Central African Republic (CAR) is going hungry, the UN said, as it called for urgent humanitarian aid to the country, which is being torn apart by conflict.
Half the population — some 2.5 million people — are now in need of food, owing to a poor harvest last year caused by the ongoing fighting. The number of people suffering hunger has doubled in the past year, the UN’s Emergency Food Assessment reports.
The deputy country director of the UN World Food Programme (WFP), Guy Adoua, said: “Families have been forced so often to sell what they own, pull their kids out of school, even resort to begging, that they have reached the end of their rope. This is not the usual run-of-the-mill emergency. People are left with nothing.
“WFP is extremely concerned by this alarming level of hunger. People not only lack enough food, but are also forced to consume low-cost, low-nutrient food that does not meet their nutritional needs.”
Last month alone, the WFP fed 400,000 people, but is still 50-per-cent short of the funding necessary to help all those in need, it says.
Nearly one million people are believed to have been displaced from their homes by the conflict. Legislative elections, which it was hoped would help to restore order, were annulled by the Constitutional Court this week, citing irregularities. A presidential poll will go ahead, however, next week.
The aid agency World Vision was forced to halt its work in the country last September, after a spike in violence. It said this week that it had resumed some operations.