Connect with us
Crisis in the Central African Republic
In the Central African Republic, 2.5 million people require immediate humanitarian assistance, and one in five is internally displaced. These figures are likely to rise as the conflict puts millions at risk of a full-scale food and nutrition security crisis due to low production in 2013 coupled with a prevailing situation of chronic countrywide malnutrition, extreme poverty and inappropriate sanitation.
The results of the Multisectoral Initial Rapid Assessment (MIRA) undertaken by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and its partners confirm that food reserves are almost non-existent. People are now eating just one meal a day, and communities report that livelihood assets have been lost, either abandoned or looted. The MIRA also indicates that in spite of insecurity, 78 percent of farmers will be cultivating in the coming weeks to ensure their income and access to food. However, 94 percent of communities report they will not have enough seeds to plant for the next agricultural season, which begins in April.
In a country where agriculture provides the main source of livelihoods and income, it is crucial to respond to the urgent needs of affected farmers, whose vulnerability continues to rise and whose livelihoods are increasingly at risk.
At the onset of the crisis, in order to better respond to the deteriorating humanitarian situation, FAO strengthened its team in the Central African Republic. A multidisciplinary team of experts has been deployed in Bangui and three suboffices have been opened in Bossangoa, Bambari and Bouar to serve the most affected areas of the country.
The Organization has started with the distribution of seeds and tools for vegetable production to displaced people in camps in the outskirts of Bangui, enabling them to harvest in six to eight weeks. In addition, FAO is implementing cash-for-work activities, which provide much needed income to meet affected families' food needs, while rebuilding community assets. Investment in joint social and economic activities among women's farming groups is also essential to create enabling environments for inter-community social cohesion, which will help reinforce agricultural production.
Of the total funds requested by FAO under the Revised Strategic Response Plan (USD 45 million), FAO still requires USD 29.1 million. The most time-critical priority for FAO is to provide farmers with inputs for the upcoming season. For these activities, FAO has already received USD 10 million, which is being used to purchase 1 800 tonnes of rice, maize and groundnut seeds, as well as hoes, shovels and watering cans to 76 000 vulnerable households. However, FAO urgently needs a further USD 8 million to reach all 150 000 targeted families who need to plant by April/May.
FAO, as co-lead of the Food Security Cluster, also plays a crucial role in food security coordination and needs evaluation and analysis thus enabling timely decision-making. Strategic partnership between FAO and the World Food Programme is particularly important to prevent duplications in the response to the crisis, ensure a greater impact on the population and enhance the cost-efficiency of the operations of both agencies in the country. Close collaboration in the field will ensure that the response is of an appropriate type, pace and scale in spite of insecurity, and will build the capacity of implementing partners to prepare the future development of the Central African Republic.
In Million USD