Thousands wait for calm after fleeing their homes in the Central

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Refugees from Central African Republic in DRC

The United Nations Refugee Agency, UNHCR, says that more than half a million people are now thought to have fled their homes in the Central African Republic since the crisis in the country began in December 2012.

More than 100,000 people have now been displaced in Bangui, thecountry's capital, in the wake of heavy fighting between ex-Selekarebels and self-defence forces last Thursday.

Adrian Edwards, Spokesman for UNHCR, says that it's difficult toproduce accurate numbers for those who have been displaced as people are scattered around the area.

"As of late last night, an estimated 108,000 people were staying in 30 locations across Bangui. The sites are mainly churches, mosques, public buildings and the airport. In addition, an unknown number of people have moved to the mostly Muslim neighbourhood known as Kilometre 5, in the northwest of Bangui." (18″)

Armed clashes and sporadic gunfire in Bangui were reported yesterdayafternoon until 2 o'clock this morning.

Displaced people have told UNHCR staff that they're hopeful that security will soon be restored and it will be safe to return to their homes.

Nicki Chadwick, UN Radio, Geneva

Duration 1'14"

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