Refugees from Central African Republic struggling to cope in neighbouring countries

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Children from the Central African Republic carrying clean water for their family. UNHCR/S.Phelps

More than 150,000 refugees from the Central African Republic have fled into neighbouring countries, where aid agencies say many are struggling to meet their basic needs.

The UN World Food Programme(WFP) says the refugees are desperately in need of food and nutritional assistance, but they have fled to countries that are fragile and food insecure.

More than 70,000 people have fled CAR to Chad since the intensification of violence in December, 62,000 have arrived in the Democratic Republic of Congo, 28,000  in Cameroon and 12,000 in the Republic of the Congo.

WFP says it cannot adequately meet the needs of the refugees due to insufficient funding adding that many of the surrounding countries are already hosting large numbers of refugees from various countries and resources are stretched.

Elizabeth Byrs is WFP spokesperson in Geneva.

"So far for the regional crisis, assisting the vulnerable in countries like DRC, Cameroon, Chad, so far we have no funding. We continue to scale up our operations inside the Central African republic. So far 58 trucks with WFP food have arrived in Bangui with 1,600 tons of food. We are continuing to provide assistance in Bassangoa, Bouar, Paoua and several other villages and towns. In February in Bouar we fed 13,000 people and at the airport in Bangui we are currently providing rations to 62,000 people."

WFP says it requires nearly $25 million to provide food assistance to CAR refuges in neighbouring countries over the next six months.

Patrick Maigua, United Nations, Geneva.

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