UNICEF says children bearing the brunt of worsening situation in the Central African Republic

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A mother has brought her 3-year-old child to the Ouango Health Centre in Bangui for a measles vaccination. [UNICEF Photo]

The humanitarian situation for children in the Central African Republic has worsened since the military takeover of the country, according to assessments by the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF).

The assessments show that children in the centre and west of the country have been particularly badly affected.

Healthcare provision has suffered, with medicine only being available at half the number of health facilities and hospitals in the area. Only three out of 10 children are attending school. Eight out of 10 families have had to significantly alter their diets as many staple foods are no longer available.

Marixie Mercado, spokesperson for UNICEF, says there's an urgent need to get emergency supplies to where they are most needed.

"Even before the military takeover of the country, the Central African Republic was already one of the toughest places for a child to survive, consistently ranking among the bottom 10 countries in development indicators. The assessments show that the needs have deepened and extended and that children are literally bearing the brunt of a vicious cycle of poverty, poor governance, conflict and political instability."

There's been a significant increase in the number of documented cases of gender-based violence, unaccompanied children and recruitment into armed groups.

UNICEF says that at least 206,000 have been internally displaced, and over 50,000 have sought shelter in neighbouring countries, mostly in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Nicki Chadwick, UN Radio, Geneva

Duration: 1'27"

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