"I lost everything: my home, my flesh, my identity. My kids sleep on the floor."
Zainaba, widowed mother of four displaced in Bangui
Back in December 2013, hundreds of thousands of people were forced to flee their homes as violence spread in the Central African Republic (CAR), with militants brutally killing civilians, looting homes and burning villages. Today over 500,000 CAR refugees are still sheltering in Cameroon, Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and the Republic of the Congo. This is the highest number of CAR refugees seen since the start of the crisis. In addition to the refugees, some 600,000 people have been forced to flee inside the country.
CAR had been experiencing a gradual transition towards peace and stability since late 2016, when both refugees and internally displaced people started to go back home. Now, insecurity is plaguing areas in the centre, northwest, east and south-east of CAR – some not previously affected by the conflict.
Thousands of people walk for weeks and hide in the forests in a desperate bid to escape, sometimes with nothing to eat or drink. Those who arrive at sites for the displaced have witnessed traumatic scenes of violence, and malnutrition rates have risen to serious levels.
In what is one of the most poorly funded emergency situations globally, many people lack even basic survival assistance. Food, health, shelter, and water and sanitation are all primary concerns for refugees living outside formal sites and for the communities hosting them.
UNHCR and its partners are renewing their call to increase support for programmes in CAR and neighbouring countries.