19 December 2013

UNFPA Provides Support for Women and Girls as Humanitarian Situation Deteriorates in Central African Republic

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Young people line up at the Don Bosco Youth Centre in Bangui, one the sites where thousands of people have taken refuge from the latest surge in sectarian violence ravaging Central African Republic. UNFPA has deployed emergency assistance to displaced women and youth affected by the fighting, delivering dignity and safe birth kits, as well as life-saving supplies. Photo © UNFPA CAR

BANGUI, Central African Republic – As the humanitarian situation continues to deteriorate in the Central African Republic (CAR), UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, is providing emergency assistance for women and girls of childbearing age affected by the fighting.

To meet the urgent needs of pregnant women and young people affected by the crisis, UNFPA is distributing thousands of dignity kits, clean delivery kits, and other reproductive health and life-saving supplies. To date, 69 health centres, as well as all displaced persons camps in the capital Bangui, have been provided with various kits, and 20 national and international NGOs have been contracted to support critical UNFPA programmes through the end of the year.

This latest surge in violence has brought the total number of people displaced since the conflict began a year ago to more than 700,000, according to December 17 estimates by OCHA. This includes approximately 214,000 since 5 December in Bangui alone. Among them, according to estimates in the country, 25 per cent are women of childbearing age. Most of the displaced population has gathered in more than 50 sites across the capital to seek shelter, principally at different religious sites and at the Bangui International Airport. These estimates are expected to change as the situation on the ground evolves.

UNFPA will continue to work jointly with the rest of the UN system to provide needed support, focusing on addressing the needs of the affected population, particularly women and young girls, and mitigating the impact of gender-based violence.

A UNFPA staff member delivers dignity kits filled with essential supplies for survival and personal hygiene to women in the Angbadro Women's Centre in the town of Bria. The gathering, which was part of a joint mission with OCHA and FAO, took place in front of the 'reconciliation room', which was built by local workers as a space for work and dialogue for women in the region. Photo © UNFPA CAR

On 11 December, UNFPA delivered clean delivery kits to more than 100 pregnant women at the Don Bosco site in Bangui. The next day, four healthy babies were born there. Other pregnant women are expected to give birth in the weeks ahead. Photo © UNFPA CAR

Safe birth kits can mean the difference between life and death for a pregnant woman and her baby in a crisis situation. Photo © UNFPA CAR

Dekoisse Charlin (right), 25, is a mother of two. Her husband was killed by unidentified armed men last September on their plantation in the town of Bossangoa. She came to the Catholic Mission, which has become a  site for displaced people in the area.


“My son and I arrived with no possessions because our house was burnt down. Eleven days later, I delivered a baby boy. My children and I were able to get potable water thanks to the dignity kit provided by UNFPA,” she said.

Wandane Valenciais (right), 25, was 9 months pregnant when she took shelter at the Mission in Bossangoa, where she received a dignity kit from UNFPA as part of the Fund's humanitarian response in CAR.

“Armed men were killing and looting on their way. I am happy to be alive but living and sanitary conditions here are really harsh. We wish for peace and to return to our homes as soon as possible," she said.

– Reported by Nicole Foster