Last March, a Muslim rebel group, the Seleka, took power in this majority-Christian country, sparking a series of violent protests and political clashes. The country descended into unprecedented chaos in December 2013, with death tolls spiking into the hundreds daily. The international community has declared CAR a Level 3 emergency: the highest level of crisis response.
Today, innocent civilians are bearing the brunt of the violence. Because they are assumed to be connected with the Seleka, Muslim families are particularly at risk of slaughter, rape, and other forms of vicious treatment from their Christian and non-Muslim neighbors. As a result of this violence, some Seleka members are also regrouping to attack Christian areas.
Recent tallies estimate that, of the 4.6 million people who call CAR their home, 2.5 million (54%) are in need of assistance. Thousands have been killed over the past year and nearly one million have been displaced from their homes. People whose families have been there for centuries have been forced to flee.
Living in temporary shelter both within CAR and in neighboring countries, they are in desperate need of food and other assistance. They also face many health risks resulting from overcrowded camp conditions. Some are literally trapped in small safe havens, such as churches, in the capital city of Bangui. They are unable to leave for fear of being killed as soon as they do.
The European Union plans to deploy troops to CAR by late April 2014 to join the current 6,000 African and 2,000 French troops who have struggled to stop the fighting. The EU force will provide security in the capital Bangui and at Bangui airport, where around 70,000 people who have fled the violence are living in extremely difficult conditions.
World Renew’s partners in the Integral Alliance and the ACT Alliance are already on the ground in CAR assessing needs and providing emergency aid. Integral Member Tearfund (UK) sent a needs assessment team to Bangui in January 2014, and has since established a base for operations in the country. ACT Alliance members working in the country have reported that nearly half of the country’s population is in need of assistance, with over 50 percent of that number being children.
World Renew will support these efforts and provide urgently needed supplies to vulnerable families. This may include the provision of food, water, sanitation and hygiene in camps for internally displaced people.
Funding is urgently needed to enable World Renew to support this life-saving response in the Central African Republic. Please donate online, or contact one of our offices.
Checks marked “Central African Republic Conflict 2014” can be sent to:
PO Box 5070, STN LCD 1
Burlington, ON L7R 3Y8
1700 28th Street SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49508-1407
Photo Top: CAR Food distributions TearFund - Photo Niek Stam