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Humanitarian operations in several parts of the Central African Republic are at a standstill due to ongoing election unrest and heightened insecurity, leaving many of the 2.8 million people in need of essential humanitarian aid without access to life-saving assistance.
“Like most of the other humanitarian organisations, we have had to suspend our response in major parts of the country, including Nana Gribizi, Basse-Kotto and Mabere Kadei localities, where more than 120,000 displaced people rely on humanitarian assistance to survive. We are deeply worried about the consequences for civilians in need of assistance, but it is just too dangerous for us to continue operating at the moment,” said David Manan, Country Director for the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) in CAR.
Repeated attacks against humanitarian workers have forced many international organisations to close field offices and repatriate staff to the capital, Bangui. Since December 15, 41 incidents against humanitarian personnel were recorded, including the killing of an aid worker, four people being injured and 35 robberies of field bases.
This insecurity, linked to fighting between armed actors puts the lives of both civilians and aid workers at enormous risk and has forced NRC to temporarily halt operations until it is safe to resume.
“Hindering our access in the country is like cutting the lifeline to more than half of the population who relies on humanitarian support to survive. Dialogue and interaction between civilian and all military actors in the Central African Republic are necessary to avoid incidents on the ground and preserve the humanitarian space,” said Manan.
There has been mounting hostilities in the country in the days before and following a contested election on 27 December 2020. Wednesday armed groups also launched attacks on the outskirts of the capital Bangui.
Up to 62,000 people are displaced inside the country and 30,000 people have sought safety in neighbouring countries due to the ongoing unrest. This adds to the already high displacement figures, with more than 600,000 internally displaced and an additional 600,000 living as refugees in neighbouring countries. Furthermore, dramatic increases in the prices of basic necessities have been recorded in several localities, jeopardizing people's livelihoods and ability to feed their families.
NRC calls for parties to the conflict to provide secure humanitarian access, protect civilians and ensure free movement of essential goods to prevent further suffering.