UN offices looted in Bangui, Central African Republic

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The United Nations is to evacuate all non essential staff from Bangui in the Central African Republic, as the security situation in the capital continues to worsen following the take over of the government by rebel forces.  Those to be evacuated will be temporarily housed in Yaoundé Cameroun.

Several United Nations agencies have had their offices looted, equipment damaged and relief supplies stolen. Amy Martin from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) describes the security situation in the capital as unpredictable. She says although a curfew has been put in place by the new government, incidences of sporadic and sometimes intense gun fire continue to be heard in the suburbs of the capital Bangui.

"Its not safe to continue operating, no one has a house to live in, no one has electricity, no one has water and no one has an office to work in now because everything has been looted. The UN office have been looted, some of their stores have been looted but not all. To be exact we have UNHCR, UNFPA, UNDP and I believe UNAIDS. Safety is a relative term, we are trying to stay out of harms way. We hope that the situation will get better soon, but if it continues in this manner then no, the situation is not going to remain safe for humanitarian workers to work as we would like. We are trying to send our non essential staff and family members to the airport so that they can be transported to Yaoundé."

Ms. Martin says the humanitarian situation for an estimated 1.5 million people in need of assistance in CAR is likely to worsen unless the security situation improves and aid workers allowed to reach those affected.

Patrick Maigua, United nations Radio Geneva.

Duration: 1’52″

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