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UNHCR and WFP Chiefs in joint push for more attention on Central African Republic refugees

Press Releases, 3 June 2014

ROME/GENEVA Executive Director of the United Nations World Food Programme Ertharin Cousin and UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres will be in Rome tomorrow, 4 June 2014, in a joint push to draw attention to the plight of refugees and third-country nationals fleeing Central African Republic (C.A.R).

The heads of the two agencies are expected to tell a special side event to WFP's Executive Board meeting that urgently increased international support is needed to accelerate humanitarian efforts in the region.

Countries neighbouring C.A.R. are struggling to cope with more than 226,000 refugees and third-country nationals who have fled violence since December, many of whom are arriving malnourished after months of living in the bush. Cameroon, for example, where almost 90,000 people have arrived since December, is seeing acute malnutrition rates among refugees running at 20-30 percent, and higher still in some locations.

Currently, the existing Regional Refugee Response Plan for Central African Republic is only 9 percent funded. This plan involves UNHCR and 14 partners in the four countries affected by C.A.R. refugee crisis Cameroon, Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Republic of the Congo.


WHEN 4 June 13:45-14:45

WHERE WFP Headquarters Rome

WHAT Donor Briefing Responding to the C.A.R. Crisis

WHO

  • WFP Executive Director, Ertharin Cousin,
  • UN High Commissioner for Refugees, António Guterres
  • WFP CAR and Cameroon Emergency Coordinator, Denise Brown
  • UNHCR Director of Africa Bureau, George Okoth Obbo

Journalists/broadcasters interested in arranging interviews should contact:

  • Frances Kennedy, WFP/Rome Tel. (39) 06 6513 3725 Mob. (39) 347 2429462
  • Emilia Casella, WFP/Rome Tel. (39) 066513 3854 Mob (39) +347 945 0634
  • Melissa Fleming, UNHCR Geneva Tel +41 79 557 9122 fleming@unhcr.org
  • Babar Baloch, UNHCR Geneva Tel +41 79 557 9106 baloch@unhcr.org
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• GET INVOLVED • • STAY INFORMED •

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Edwige Deals With Loss by Keeping Busy and Aiding Others in Mole Camp

Edwige Kpomako is a woman in a hurry; but her energy also helps the refugee from Central African Republic (CAR) to cope with the tragedy that forced her to flee to northern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) last year. Before violence returned to her country in 2012, the 25-year-old was studying for a Masters in American literature in Bangui, and looking forward to the future. "I started my thesis on the works of Arthur Miller, but because of the situation in CAR . . . ," she said, her voice trailing off. Instead, she had to rush to the DRC with a younger brother, but her fiancée and 10-year old son were killed in the inter-communal violence in CAR.

After crossing the Oubangui River to the DRC, Edwige was transferred to Mole, a camp housing more than 13,000 refugees. In a bid to move on with her life and keep busy, she started to help others, assume a leadership role and take part in communal activities, including the Brazilian martial art of capoeira. She heads the women's committee, is engaged in efforts to combat sexual violence, and acts as a liaison officer at the health centre. She also teaches and runs a small business selling face creams. "I discovered that I'm not weak," said Edwige, who remains optimistic. She is sure that her country will come out of its nightmare and rebuild, and that she will one day become a human rights lawyer helping refugees.

American photojournalist Brian Sokol took these photos.

Edwige Deals With Loss by Keeping Busy and Aiding Others in Mole Camp

New refugees from Central African Republic struggle with ration cuts in southern Chad

Since January 2014, a funding shortfall has forced the World Food Programme (WFP) to cut food rations by 60 per cent in refugee camps in southern Chad. The reduction comes as thousands of refugees from Central African Republic (CAR) continue to arrive in the south - more than 14,000 of them since the beginning of 2014. Many arrive sick, malnourished and exhausted after walking for months in the bush with little food or water. They join some 90,000 other CAR refugees already in the south - some of them for years.

The earlier refugees have been able to gain some degree of self-reliance through agriculture or employment, thus making up for some of the food cuts. But the new arrivals, fleeing the latest round of violence in their homeland, are facing a much harsher reality. And many of them - particularly children - will struggle to survive because WFP has also been forced cut the supplemental feeding programmes used to treat people trying to recover from malnutrition.

WFP needs to raise US$ 186 million to maintain feeding programmes for refugees in Africa through the end of the year. Additionally, UNHCR is urgently seeking contributions towards the US$ 78 million it has budgeted this year for food security and nutrition programmes serving refugees in Africa.

Photojournalist Corentin Fohlen and UNHCR Public Information Officer Céline Schmitt visited CAR refugees in southern Chad to document their plight and how they're trying to cope.

New refugees from Central African Republic struggle with ration cuts in southern Chad

A Central African Refugee's Reunion With Her Sons Brings Joy and Sorrow

The violence and conflict in the Central African Republic has forced hundreds of thousands of people to flee their homes since mid-December. Many have sought refuge in neighbouring countries, including 80,000 in Cameroon. During the trauma and confusion of flight, families often become separated. They face many dangers on the way to safety, and their journey can take many weeks. Ramatou, a 45-year-old mother of 11 children, was separated from three of her sons and her husband when militiamen attacked her village in January. She ran in one direction with eight children and eventually made it to Cameroon with the help of African Union peace-keepers. Her husband and three sons ran in a different direction and endured many ordeals in the bush, becoming separated again. Earlier this month, Ramatou was reunited in Cameroon's Mbile Refugee Camp with the two youngest boys. She was overjoyed, but dismayed that they were on their own. She still hopes for her husband and eldest son to turn up. Photographer Fred Noy was there at the emotional reunion.

A Central African Refugee's Reunion With Her Sons Brings Joy and Sorrow

Joint Appeal: Help Needed for Central African RefugeesPlay video

Joint Appeal: Help Needed for Central African Refugees

The UN refugee agency and its partners appealed for more donor support to cope with the continuing outflow and deteriorating condition of refugees from the Central African Republic.
UNHCR's Dr. Paul Spiegel on the Border of CAR  and CameroonPlay video

UNHCR's Dr. Paul Spiegel on the Border of CAR and Cameroon

This video was shot by one of our staff* using a mobile phone as they helped refugees who had crossed the river to safety.
Central African Republic: Torn CommunitiesPlay video

Central African Republic: Torn Communities

For more than a year, inter-communal strife has displaced tens of thousands of people in the Central African Republic. But amid the violence, efforts are being made to promote reconciliation.