Central African Republic

"People won’t go back to farming their fields if they do not feel safe"

"People won’t go back to farming their fields if they do not feel safe" - Archbishop Dieudonne Nzapalainga

The Central African Republic is a country in turmoil since rebels seized power in March 2013.

Rated as one of the poorest countries in the world, the people of the Central African Republic have suffered through a turbulent history of coups, corruption and civil unrest. If you are born there, your average life expectancy is a mere 49 and along with the majority of the population you will struggle to feed, clothe and educate your family.

Today, the situation has unravelled into what UN General Secretary Ban Ki-moon calls “a state of anarchy". Inter-communal violence has left thousands dead and more than half of the population of 4.6 million is now in urgent need of humanitarian assistance. It is estimated that 350,000 people have fled the country, seeking refuge in neighbouring countries, and many of those who remain have resorted to hiding in the bush for safety or sheltering in makeshift settlements with little access to the basics they need to survive - such as clean water, food and medical care. Rebel factions move lawlessly throughout the country, looting, lynching and committing crimes of sexual violence. Because of the pervasive insecurity aid agencies and UN agencies have been unable to provide sufficient humanitarian aid to many parts of the country.

CAFOD is responding to the crisis with our local partner Caritas CAR and our US sister agency in the Caritas family, CRS (Catholic Relief Services). We’re providing access to health care, shelter and education supplies to vulnerable communities throughout the country. We are also helping farming families to help themselves by distributing seeds and agricultural tools so that they can plants their food crops during the rainy season and provide for themselves in the difficult months to come.

We are working to promote peace, tolerance and social cohesion by supporting the Interfaith Platform in CAR and we’re supporting peace-building activities between different faith groups across the country. We are also working to build interfaith approaches at the international level, and we are speaking out with other leading aid agencies in the UK to advocate for increased action on this neglected crisis.

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