BANGUI, Central African Republic (September 29, 2015) — World Vision is concerned that latest bout of unrest in the Central African Republic (CAR) could prevent help from reaching those who desperately need it, particularly children caught in the conflict. The humanitarian organization has been forced to evacuate and hibernate staff after the latest incidence of inter-communal violence in the country. All programs throughout the country have had to be put on temporary hold until the security situation improves. Programs so far have benefited more than 120,000 children in CAR.
A spike in violence over the last three days and the threat of things escalating is threatening to plunge the country into another period of instability.
“Bangui looks like a ghost city. Right now the streets are empty. The night was marked by violence, and we could hear explosions and gunfights. Even now, in the middle of the day, we can still hear gunshots. We’re hearing reports of people looting NGO storehouses and offices, which is concerning, because it could impact future aid work,” said Yves Habumugisha, who is currently in Bangui and is the Emergency Director for World Vision’s West Africa region.
World Vision has been providing food aid in schools and to communities in need. Child protection has been a priority with Child Friendly Spaces for children to spend time, play and start to come to terms with what they’ve been through. World Vision has also been helping children register in local schools, plus providing learning materials and training community leaders on child protection and peace building.
The organization is also involved in identifying children who have been separated from their families and helping reunite them with relatives.
“It’s very difficult because we have been observing months of calm and that meant we were able to provide assistance to children who desperately need it. We were supposed to start some additional child protection work this week. And now having to stop these operations and hibernate is heartbreaking. It is only making the situation worse, especially for the children who we know are already suffering from critical levels of child malnutrition, difficult access to education and forced recruitment by armed militias.”
World Vision staff and supplies are standing by, ready to begin the life-saving aid work again as soon as it is deemed safe. Since starting operations in March 2014, World Vision has reached more than 150,000 people with life-saving interventions.
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World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization conducting relief, development, and advocacy activities in its work with children, families, and their communities in nearly 100 countries to help them reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. World Vision serves all people regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, or gender. For more information, please visit www.WorldVision.org/media-center/ or on Twitter @WorldVisionUSA.
- All programs halted until security situation improves
- World Vision had been prioritizing child protection, peacebuilding work, reaching more than 150,000 people