2.3m children affected by conflict in CAF
Updated: 2013-12-17 10:36
Seleka soldiers drive along a road in Bangui, in this Dec 5, 2013 file photo. Heavy and small arms fire rang out in the capital of Central African Republic on Thursday, the heaviest clashes in Bangui for months, hours before a UN vote is due to authorise a French mission to restore order. [Photo/Agencies]
UNITED NATIONS - Anthony Lake, the executive director of the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), said on Monday that 2.3 million children have been affected by the vicious conflict in the Central African Republic (CAF) country.
He also condemned the "horrific killing, abuse and harm" inflicted on children in the war-torn African country "an affront to humanity," UN spokesman Martin Nesirky told reporters here.
"For too long, the lives of children in the Central African Republic have not counted nor been counted in this forgotten crisis," Lake said.
On Friday, UNICEF airlifted 77 tons of blankets, soap, jerry cans, medicine, water purification supplies, plastic sheeting, and health and midwifery kits to the capital, Bangui. In the last 12 months, UNICEF has dispatched four other cargo planes of life-saving supplies for war-affected families.
Also on Monday, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said that more than 40 percent of the rural population in the CAR needs urgent assistance to prevent the food security situation from worsening for millions of people.
FAO said that these numbers will increase dramatically next year if farmers are not able to prepare for the upcoming planting season, Nesirky said.
The CAR has been wracked by conflict that has reportedly killed thousands of people and driven more than half a million from their homes over the outgoing year.
The CAR has been thrown into turmoil since Seleka rebels launched attacks a year ago and forced President Francois Bozize to flee in March. A transitional government has since been entrusted with restoring peace and paving the way for democratic elections, but armed clashes have erupted again.