The United Nations agencies have been scaling up assistance in the Central African Republic (CAR) as re-emergence of conflict has sparked more displacement in the country, the agencies announced Friday.
Adrian Edwards, spokesman of the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), told reporters that UNHCR staff have seen new displacement this week in the northwest of the country due to heavy clashes between Saturday and Tuesday.
A UNHCR team arrived in Bossangoa, a town where the clashes were reported, located 300 km northwest of the capital Bangui, to assess the extent of the displacement and the humanitarian needs of the affected populations in the region, Edwards said.
He said that UNHCR was continuing to assist internally-displaced people in the country, providing aid kits consisting of tarpaulins, blankets, sleeping mats, and hygienic kits for women and girls.
UNHCR statistics showed that violence in CAR since December 2012 has uprooted an estimated 227,000 people and forced into exile another 60,800, mostly women and children, to neighboring countries, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Cameroon and Chad.
Elisabeth Byrs, spokesperson of the World Food Programme (WFP), said the organization was committed to scaling up food assistance to displaced people.
The re-emergence of conflict in the country is placing vulnerable households and communities at risk of food insecurity, she said.
Up to 500,000 people are estimated to need immediate food assistance and this figure is likely to increase as the planting season has been disrupted by conflict and displacement, according to the WFP.
She said that WFP was re-opening its offices in the northeastern and western parts of the country and using mobile teams to reach people in areas that remain insecure.
She said WFP would also provide emergency school meals at schools that reconvene in October from summer vacation.
The UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) is working in very difficult conditions to continue providing life-saving support, including re-starting services in health facilities, said the organization's spokesperson Marixie Mercado.
Mercado said that a measles vaccination campaign was set to begin on Sept. 30, with the goal of reaching all districts except Bangui, where around 200,000 children have already been vaccinated.