WFP to airlift food aid into CAR due to insecurity on roads

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Beneficiaries receive food from volunteers of the Central African Red Cross during an ICRC distribution near Obo town, in Haut Mbomou. © ICRC / M. Kokic /

The UN World Food Programme (WFP) is to start airlifting food aid into the Central African republic, as road transport is becoming unreliable due to insecurity.

The plan is to have 2,000 metric tons of food (mostly rice) transported to Bangui over the course of the month from Doula Cameroon.

WFP says food stocks in several towns including the capital Bangui where displaced families are camped are running low on food supplies

Forty-three trucks carrying nearly 1,200 metric tons of cereals are currently blocked at the border with Cameroon with drivers declining to enter Central African republic due to insecurity.

Elisabeth Byrs from WFP says the airlifting of food into CAR was a measure of last resort, even though it will cost 5 times more to transport the food by air compared to road transport.

"There are no customs officers and there are road problems, they are blocked because of insecurity. We still have 43 trucks blocked at the border carrying WFP food, and we hope they will come across. The African mission for CAR has sent another armed escort to the border between CAR and Cameroon. It's still to be determined how many of 43 trucks carrying food will come across. That's why we are starting an airlift because food stocks are running low in Bangui and we were only able to distribute half ration to 500 families daily at the airport and it's not enough."

She says WFP has provided food assistance to 220,000 displaced people since the start of the year in the capital Bangui and the towns of Bouar and Bossangoa.

Patrick Maigua, United Nations, Geneva.

Duration 1:52″

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