Children left vulnerable as crisis in Central African Republic unfoldsListen /
Thousands of children in the Central African Republic have been left without adequate access to basic services in the wake of the rebel advance to the country's capital Bangui, according to the UN children's fund UNICEF.
The agency says in most of the rebel controlled areas, health activities have been seriously disrupted while many schools have been closed or taken over by armed groups.
UNICEF says nearly 14,000 children are expected to suffer from life threatening malnutrition following the looting and closure of nutritional centers.
UNICEF's spokesperson Marixie Mercado says the agency has also received credible reports that rebel groups and pro- government militia have been actively recruiting children into their ranks.
"Most vulnerable are children who have lost their home, have been separated from their families, or were formerly associated with armed groups.. Even before the current crisis, UNICEF estimated that some 2,500 children both girls and boys, were associated with armed groups in the Central African Republic. Lack of access over the past months has been a huge block to humanitarian efforts. Roads are blocked, there is presence of armed groups and the risk of pillage. UNICEF offices in Kaga Bandoro were completely looted."
UNICEF is among the aid agencies that have been forced to relocate some of its staff from the Central African Republic following this weeks violent take over of government by rebel forces.
Patrick Maigua United Nations Radio Geneva.