For four decades, the Central African Republic has been plagued by chronic political instability, underdevelopment and poor governance. In March 2013, a coalition of rebel groups, Séléka overthrew the government, leaving hundreds dead and almost a million people displaced from their homes. On 5 and 6 December, the violence escalated with casualties estimated as high as 1,000 happened in December 2013. Despite the establishment of a transitional government and election of a new interim president in January 2014, sectarian violence continues to threaten populations throughout the country.
Today, large-scale human rights violations continue to be perpetrated by all sides of the conflict. 4.6 million people are affected and 556,000 people are internally displaced in the country. Nearly 2.3 million children remain at risk and continue to require assistance and protection. Some children have been killed, mutilated, subject to sexual violence and recruited by armed groups.
UNICEF is a partner present in Central African Republic since 1968. Within the first month since the situation deteriorated in December 2013, 32 additional staff members from UNICEF were working on the ground on providing life-saving and life assistance, and committed to strengthening resilience and supporting the country’s capacity to maintain the country’s development.
UNICEF also coordinates with the Government, other United Nations agencies, international and national NGOs in key sectors of humanitarian response. UNICEF is lead for nutrition, and co-lead for WASH, education, child protection sub-cluster response. UNICEF also supports the response on health, gender-based violence, and the non-food items/shelter cluster.
-As of May, 1.3 million people are at risk of heightened food insecurity and thousands of children could become severely malnourished.
-From January to June, around 95,565 children have been screened for malnutrition. Children received on-site mobile out-patient therapeutic programmes or referred for treatment to existing health structures.
-8,847 children under five have been admitted for Severe Acute Malnutrition treatment, of which 84 per cent have recovered. 6,120 children also recovered from Moderate Acute Malnutrition.
-UNICEF trained 80 peer educators in various IDP site to promote exclusive breastfeeding, which is fundamental to child health.
-UNICEF also provided iron-folate supplementation for approximately 350,000 pregnant women.
-Child survival in the country has always been precarious. One in six children die before age five, and only one third is vaccinated for diphtheria, whooping cough and tetanus.
-As of 3 June, 650,000 people access basic health services and medicine in the affected areas.
-On 23 May, UNICEF and World Health Organization launched a vaccination campaign for 843,000 children under five and 195,000 pregnant women.
-UNICEF and partners ensured 149,294 children under five were vaccinated against measles. As of May, some 38,000 children aged zero to five years old were vaccinated for polio and 4,260 children under one received routine vaccination. UNICEF has intensified routine immunization activities, with efforts focused on at-risk populations of internally displaced person.
-Ten per cent of the total population or 460,000 people have malaria every year. Within the first week of June, UNICEF and partners will distribute two insecticide treated bed nets to 175,000 households to prevent malaria. 78,000 people received malaria prevention and treatment as of May.
-The prevalence rate of HIV among adult women can be as high as 7.8 per cent to 11 per cent. The conflict has disrupted women’s access to prenatal consultation, including screening for HIV to prevent mother-to-child transmission. UNICEF and partners have provided HIV counselling to 18,698 pregnant women, and have provided antiretroviral (ARV) treatment to almost 900 pregnant women. 602 children born from mothers living with HIV have also benefited from ARV treatment.
Water, Sanitation & Hygiene (WASH)
-Before the crisis, only a little of over half of the population had access to drinking water and only one third of the population had access to an improved family latrine.
-UNICEF has provided crucial support and critical water treatment materials to the national water supply authority to install water pump, rehabilitate and extend existing water networks.
-As of 3 June, 224,979 affected people have access to safe drinking water, 214,814 people received WASH items, like jerry cans, soap, and have knowledge of hand washing practices.
-161,582 people have access to basic sanitation services.
-UNICEF has undertaken a number of cholera prevention and response activities, such as setting up a cholera treatment centre site, prepositioning emergency stock (including cholera kits, chlorine, Aquatabs, soap and jerry cans); and training 30 health partners and 94 teachers working in temporary learning centres.
-UNICEF and partners released 1,150 children, including 247 girls from armed groups. UNICEF also supports the Family, Social Affairs and National Solidarity in defining norms for family-based care, and trained 40 host families to provide interim care to the most vulnerable children, including those separated from armed groups and local militias.
-448 unaccompanied and separated children identified reunited with their families. UNICEF has begun putting systems and mechanisms into place for the identification, documentation, tracing and reunification of unaccompanied and separated children within and across borders.
-37,735 children have access to psycho-social activities organized by UNICEF and its partners.
-UNICEF provided 501 survivors of gender-based violence with holistic support, addressing both medical and psychological needs. From 26 to 28 May, UNICEF trained social and health workers from government, UN agencies, INGO social workers on clinical management of rape, better serve children suffering gender-based violence.
-In June, UNICEF will also start a birth registration campaign, targeting 25,000 children under 1 in 3 districts.
-An assessment in February found out 65 per cent of schools were looted, occupied or damaged by bullets and shells, and almost 280,000 primary school students are out of school during 2013. In Bangui, 35 per cent of schools are being used as shelters, and there are concerning reports of attacks target schools.
-UNICEF supports education activities in IDP camps and re-opening of schools. UNICEF and partners have established 118 temporary learning spaces to provide psychosocial support, life skills and peace building initiatives in safe learning environments. As of early June, 23,600 displaced children participated in activities in temporary learning spaces.
-UNICEF trained 40 representatives of educators on identification and report cases of grave violation against children, and report cases of occupation and destruction of schools during the armed conflict. 30 school managers are trained to enhance their psycho-social skills.
-UNICEF supports the Ministry of Education to return teachers and children to school by providing learning materials. As of early June, 42,909 children between 3 to 18 years old have benefited from education supplies, such as Early Childhood Development Kits, School-in-a-box, etc.