Renewed conflict in Central African Republic leaves thousands displacedListen /
Thousands of people have fled their homes to escape violence and reprisal attacks in and around Bambari in the Central African Republic.
The United Nations Refugee Agency, UNHCR, says that at least 45 people have been killed this week.
The violence began on Monday when a camp, housing Muslims, just outside Bambari, was attacked. Following this, attacks took place inside the city on both armed groups and civilians.
Melissa Fleming, UNHCR spokesperson, says that Bambari has been reduced to a ghost town:
"Christian neighbourhoods have been virtually emptied of residents from previous attacks, while displacement sites are packed with people struggling to get by – and of course to compound it all we have the rainy season making things even more miserable."
It's estimated that more than 530,000 people altogether have been forced from their homes inside the country. Almost 140,000 have sought refuge in Cameroon, DRC, Chad and the Republic of Congo since December last year.
"The flight into neighbouring countries continues. We have indications that more and more people want to get out. We're seeing that the conditions of people coming in are just absolutely despicable. In terms of human frailty, what is being done to them, people with machete wounds, huge numbers are malnourished."
UNHCR says that the security situation remains volatile, making it difficult for aid agencies to reach those who are most in need.
Nicki Chadwick, United Nations, Geneva.