At the request of the government of the Central African Republic (CAR), the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has begun an emergency operation to provide food to internally displaced people (IDPs) forced to flee armed conflict in the northern part of the country, near the border with Chad.
We couldn't wait any longer, they need food now, David
Bulman, the UN agency's country director, told IRIN on Friday. He
said that the region's
buffer supply of food stocks had
been depleted, and that malnutrition rates were beginning to rise.
The project would provide 216 mt of food rations over three months to some 6,000 IDPs dislodged by armed activities around their villages since January. An estimated 4,500 IDPs are in the town of Kabo and 1,500 in Batagafo, approximately 400 km north of the capital, Bangui. Food from local stocks has been sent, and distributions at the sites will begin on Monday.
Hostilities in the region have been attributed to longstanding conflict between agriculturalists and pastoralists, aggravated by an influx of arms. In some cases entire villages have been burned.
The current operation follows an initial convoy of food, blankets, and medical supplies sent to the region in March, which was jointly organised by the CAR Ministry of Social Affairs, WFP, the UN Children's Fund and the UN Development Programme. At that time, a humanitarian assessment mission was conducted, leading to the present mobilisation of aid.