CAR Refugees Flee Conflict

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YAOUNDE, Cameroon--Those seeking refuge from violence in the Central African Republic are turning to nearby Cameroon for sanctuary. Since December, around 85,000 displaced individuals have flooded the country. However, insufficient resources prevent it from being the safe haven they need.

Between April 14 and May 19, 29 children (infants to nine-year-olds) have died en route to Cameroon. The weeks-long journey from CAR is difficult and leaves many refugees severely malnourished. Some are already wounded due to CAR violence. Other conditions include hypothermia and dehydration.

Operations backed by the World Food Programme and the UN Refugee Agency are attempting to provide food, shelter and medical care, including vaccinations.  The Regional Refugee Response Plan, which along with Cameroon also assists Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and the Republic of the Congo in handling refugees is severely underfunded.

More than 2,000 refugees continue to trickle into Cameroon. The number is down from around 10,000 per week -- not because there are fewer refugees, but because main roads are now blocked by anti-balaka, Christian militants.

The flow of refugees coincides with the beginning of the rainy season. As well as causing a deterioration in housing conditions, this can also result in the spread of diseases.

The Central African Republic Crisis Rages On

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Jessamy Nichols, Africa Correspondent
Last Modified: 23:16 p.m. DST, 18 December 2013

CAR Rebel Exercising, Photo by hdptcarCENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC, Africa - I first wrote about the Central African Republic’s deplorable conditions in September, and the situation has worsened since. Luckily, the international community has recently made much larger efforts to step in, intervene, and restore stability but there is still immense and lofty work to be done.

From December 5th through 7th, UNICEF reported that within those 72 hours alone, 60,000 citizens were displaced and 394 were killed. At this point a week ago, the internally displaced persons count had risen to half a million people.

After this extremely deadly period of three days, France finally decided to send in troops to this area and militarily push to end the conflict.

Although international presence may help resolve this conflict in the main hotspots, the destruction and horrors are continuing across the country in small villages and areas isolated from help.

IDP camps are popping up across the country, and as they do, these displaced persons also lack access to adequate shelter, sanitation, food and water. These problems are thus mounting and exponentially piling on top of one another, so more must be done before the damage is irreversible and before more innocent people die.

This international intervention also follows the successful work by the UN and MONUSCO to shut down the M23 rebels in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, so this could hopefully be a precedent for how to end the rebellious conflict in the Central African Republic. If the UN and its diverse troops were able to tackle several conflicts such as these, this may set a much needed tone for African states that murderous rebels will not be tolerated.

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