UNICEF and the World Food Programme (WFP) on Friday warned that more than one-in-three health districts in the Central African Republic (CAR) “are now on alert for a child malnutrition crisis due to recent violence.”
“The situation is extremely concerning,” UNICEF Representative in CAR, Fran Equiza, said in a statement.
“Without urgent access to the care they need, severely malnourished children are at imminent risk of death. We must be able to safely reach all children in need as soon as possible, particularly in the areas most affected by recent violence, where families have been forced to flee and access to food is scarce,” said Equiza.
The WFP CAR Country Director Peter Schaller said in the statement that “the spiraling nutrition situation is a consequence of recent post-electoral violence and needs an immediate and adequate response to save lives and avoid catastrophe.”
“We cannot sit back and watch this catastrophe unfold before our eyes. We need safe access to these children, girls and women to prevent the worst,” he said.
Equiza urged all parties to the conflict to allow UNICEF and its partners safe access “to the most vulnerable children.”
The situation in landlocked CAR worsened after the rejection of former President Francois Bozize’s candidacy for election last December.
Fighting between a coalition of non-state armed groups and government forces has continued for the past two months, plunging the country into a new cycle of violence.
At least 100,000 people have been displaced by recent violence.
Another 107,000 fled to neighboring Cameroon, Chad and the Democratic Republic of Congo, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
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