CAR refugees in desperate need of humanitarian assistanceListen /
The humanitarian situation of refugees fleeing Central African Republic into neighbouring countries continues to worsen as aid agencies struggle to raise adequate funding to meet their growing needs.
United Nations refugee agency UNHCR says the number of refugees who have fled the CAR into Cameroon, Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo and the Congo now stands at over 357,000.
UNHCR says aid agencies need to raise $210 million over the next five months to scale up delivery of services in life-saving sectors such as food, health, shelter, site planning, water and sanitation.
Babar Baloch, spokesperson for the UN refugee agency says assistance is also needed for refugees living outside formal sites and for communities hosting them.
"UNHCR has seen particularly serious malnutrition rates in Cameroon for over 118,000 arrivals in the last six months. Efforts must be redoubled to relocate people away from insecure and remote locations that are often hard to reach. More refugee sites need to be established to ensure the safety of refugees. Serious gaps in assistance remain in shelter and water, sanitation and hygiene. This poses particular concerns now that the rainy season has begun. The new refugee arrivals show signs of the brutal violence they have escaped in CAR. In April and May, as many as 40 per cent of all the new refugees, children as well as adults, were suffering from malnutrition."
UNHCR says the CAR remains one of the most poorly-funded emergencies a situation that is hampering the ability of aid agencies to provide even basic survival assistance for the refugees and even less to the host communities.
Patrick Maigua, United Nations, Geneva.