BANGUI – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) is running out of food to distribute to growing numbers of displaced people in the Central African Republic because insecurity is blocking supply routes.
Thirty-eight trucks carrying WFP rice are blocked at the Central African Republic border with Cameroon, along with hundreds of other vehicles. Following recent fighting, drivers of commercial trucks transporting WFP food have refused to cross the border.
The impact on food supplies to the capital and the rest of the country is disastrous. WFP cereal stocks are close to being exhausted and pulses too will soon run out. Suspending food distributions could lead to further tension particularly among the 100,000 displaced people in the overcrowded Bangui airport camp.
“The main road between Cameroon and CAR is the lifeline for humanitarian operations, which increases the need for these axes to be secure,” said WFP Regional Director Denise Brown. “As a last resort, WFP is considering an airlift of food from Douala, Cameroon, to Bangui. But being forced to launch such an operation would substantially increase the cost of our emergency operation in CAR.”
In the immediate term, WFP is prioritizing distributions at the airport, and plans further distributions in the northwestern town of Bossangoa, but with reduced rations. Deliveries to other locations cannot be carried out until trucks can drive safely along routes and their movement to Bangui is secured.
WFP continues to urges all parties to the conflict to allow the safe and unhindered access of humanitarian personnel and the timely delivery of humanitarian assistance to people in need. WFP is neutral and delivers assistance only on the basis of need.
• Since 1 January, nearly 66,000 people in Bangui and 9,288 people in the Western town of Bouar have received WFP food.
• All efforts are being made to position stocks for vulnerable people in the North. On 18 January an additional nine trucks with WFP food reached the town, despite insecurity and checkpoints along the road. Distributions have started in nearby villages.
• WFP is appealing for nearly US$107 million to assist 1.25 million people in CAR who risk hunger because of displacement and the coming lean season. No new contributions have been secured since WFP’s emergency operation for CAR was launched on 1 January.
• New funding is required urgently to purchase food that should be prepositioned across the country before the start of the rainy season in May.
• A rapid humanitarian assessment (MIRA) was carried out 24-28 December in 86 communities including urban areas in Bangui and Bossangoa. It found that 2.6 million people currently require humanitarian assistance. Women’s priority needs are protection and food.
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WFP is the world’s largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide. On average, WFP reaches more than 90 million people with food assistance in 80 countries each year.
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