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Central African Republic plunged into crisis

By Oxfam

Oxfam is helping people access essentials like food and clean water.

In December 2013, a long-running civil conflict in the Central African Republic deteriorated significantly, with an eruption of inter-community violence and gross violations of human rights. This landlocked country now faces a complex and serious crisis, with 2.5 million people—more than half of the population--requiring urgent assistance.

About 250,000 refugees have fled to neighboring countries like Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Cameroon; more than 700,000 others are displaced within the Central African Republic. The country also faces a potential food crisis, with supplies at risk of running out, traders fleeing violence, and seeds unavailable for the next planting season. According to a December UN assessment carried out in the capital, Bangui, and the northwest regions, more than 90 percent of people surveyed now eat only one meal per day.

Oxfam’s response focuses first on urgent needs like food and water. We have begun trucking in clean water to supply 20,000 displaced people around Bangui and will soon begin distributing vouchers to help people purchase food. We are also calling on the international community to provide urgently needed aid and to support reconstruction and stabilization efforts in the long term.

“Violence and division is plunging Central African Republic into food crisis of real severity--one that will continue to deteriorate as long as people feel unsafe in their homes and shops, or unable to trade with their fellow citizens,” wrote Oxfam’s Steve Cockburn in a recent blog post.

“There are no simple solutions to the crisis … and none that can come wholly from outside. But there is a huge role for the international community to play in order to help these seeds of hope grow. Among that is to make sure men, women and children from all communities can eat and trade in peace.”

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