UN mission finds burned and abandoned villages in northern Central African Republic

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Internally displaced people in the Central African Republic. [Photo: OCHA/Laura Fultang]

A UN humanitarian mission to northern Central African Republic found thousands of displaced people in horrific conditions last week.

UN Refugee Agency spokeswoman, Melissa Fleming says aid workers found abandoned villages, massive displacement and evidence of widespread human rights violations.

“We basically found seven villages that we visited, and these were only the ones we visited, just burned to the ground, an eighth partially burned. Villagers were hiding in the bush. That means the people living there numbered about 160,000 people, .they’ve all fled. In general, civilians are basically at the mercy of a security vacuum in CAR, which has led to a proliferation of armed groups, vigilante groups. People are just at the mercy of anyone with a gun.” (30")

Fleming spoke of people are staying away from the roads to avoid detection. Rains are making living conditions even worse, she said.

UNHCR is distributing tarpaulins, mosquito nets, kitchen sets and other supplies to displaced people.

The UN refugee agency is appealing to the authorities in the Central African Republic and all armed groups to protect civilians and allow aid agencies to reach people in need.

Yvette Morris, UN Radio, Geneva.

Duration: 1'26"

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