Increased levels of violence combined with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic have led to a rise in the number of people in need of humanitarian assistance in the Central African Republic (CAR). In 2022, 3.1 million people (63 per cent of the population) will be in need, including 1.4 million children.
The Rapid Response Mechanism, which will target 272,500 people (60 per cent of whom are children) will further expand its role as an entry point for UNICEF's overall response.
Among other key interventions, UNICEF will ensure severe acute malnutrition (SAM) prevention and response for more than 55,000 children, support safe return to school for 300,000 children in crisis-affected areas, and ensure access to safe water for 300,000 people. Protection needs will remain at the heart of the response, with 140,000 children accessing mental health and psychosocial support, and a systematic gender lens will inform all analysis and programme design.
UNICEF requires US$73 million to meet the needs of children affected by the humanitarian crisis in CAR in 2022.
HUMANITARIAN SITUATION AND NEEDS
The Central African Republic (CAR) is experiencing a new wave of acute humanitarian crises.
Election-related violence that broke out in mid-December 2020 has had a devastating effect on civilians, particularly children, while hundreds of thousands of people have been forced to flee their homes. The national army, supported by bilateral forces, has regained control of the majority of the country’s cities, but armed groups are now scattered in rural areas and military operations continue, causing further displacement. The UNICEF-led Rapid Response Mechanism (RRM) recorded 112 alerts, mostly conflict related, between January and September 2021, a 70 per cent increase over the same period in 2020. Over 722,000 people were displaced as of 30 September 2021, a level not seen since the peak of the crisis in 2013. Including the 709,000 CAR refugees abroad, one in four Central African people is now displaced by conflict.
During the election-period crisis in 2021, human rights violations, including sexual and genderbased violence, have surged, dozens of schools and hospitals have been occupied or forcibly closed,15 and food prices have increased by up to 60 per cent,9 in a context where children and their families had already been heavily affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and its socioeconomic impacts. In 2021, 20 per cent of the country's health districts reached measles epidemic status. Due to the combined effects of violence, the COVID-19 pandemic and structural fragility, an estimated 3.1 million people in CAR (63 per cent of the population) will need humanitarian assistance in 2022. This is the highest amount of people in such need in five years both in terms of total and percentage of the population. This includes 1.4 million children and 460,000 people with disabilities.
The number of people who will experience acute vulnerabilities that threaten their survival will also increase to 2.2 million, representing 43 per cent of the population.The number of children under 5 years of age in need of severe acute malnutrition (SAM) treatment is expected to again rise by about 10 per cent, to 69,000.
Two thirds of the country’s children did not regularly attend or attend school at all in 2021, and 1.41 million will need help to do so in 2022. In total, 944,000 children will also need protection, especially from the psychosocial impact of conflict and from the risk of sexual violence. Fifty-eight per cent of the population will lack access to water and sanitation,10 a sharp increase due to conflict as well as the increase in displaced persons (IDPs). In turn, epidemics, including measles, are expected to remain prevalent in 2022.