People of CAR “emerging from the bush” need our help, says UN

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A man and his child walk through a crowded site for internally displaced people in Bangui. Photo: UNHCR/S. Phelps (file)

Relief aid is urgently needed in Central African Republic (CAR) which the UN refugee agency says risks becoming "the largest forgotten humanitarian crisis of our time". Nearly 900,000 people have been forcibly displaced by violence and 2.7 million people need help, according to UNHCR.

The appeal comes ahead of national reconciliation talks planned next week whose aim is to restore peace after violent clashes erupted in December 2013.

Daniel Johnson has more.

The refugee agency's call for aid comes as fighting continues to flare up in central and northern areas of the Central African Republic.

There's more stability to the east and the west however, and UNHCR says people have been "coming out of the bush" and returning to their homes after fleeing fighting in December 2013.

UNHCR's Claire Bourgeois said there was "some hope" that the peace talks in the capital Bangui next week will help the situation on the ground.

Equally important are the elections planned for August, Bourgeois said, although preparations for them had been a "little bit delayed".

"In this political context these countries try to find again a certain stability and security, the humanitarian needs need to follow."

The UN agency's spokesperson added said that people had "no coping mechanism" and that only around 10 per cent of the UN's $944 million appeal had been met.

She said there was "absolutely no healthcare" in many areas, along with increasing numbers of unaccompanied children.

Meanwhile UNHCR's Liz Ahua said that levels of malnutrition among refugees who'd sought shelter in neighbouring countries were at levels "not seen in a decade".

Daniel Johnson, United Nations

Duration: 1'13"


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