The United Nations on Tuesday made an urgent appeal for funds to help the Central African Republic face a mounting food crisis.
The UN’s World Food Programme (WFP) said 2.2 million people in the war-torn country of 5.5 million were acutely food insecure, and their plight was likely to worsen during the coming months.
“The Central African Republic is facing unprecedented humanitarian needs and a deteriorating food security situation,” WFP spokesman Tomson Phiri told reporters in Geneva.
“Food insecurity in the CAR is driven by the combined effects of the protracted internal armed conflict, persistent insecurity and population displacement.”
He said a sharp increase in commodity prices was expected from August, with rice expected to go up by 30 percent, wheat flour by 67 percent and vegetable oil by 70 percent.
WFP said it had struggled to pre-position food stocks in shortage areas ahead of the rainy season from July to September, which hampers access to much of the country.
Phiri said it was taking longer to get food into the CAR and it was also difficult to get fuel.
He said the WFP was urgently appealing for $68.4 million.
“Without immediate funding, food and nutrition insecurity will only increase for millions of people,” he said.
WFP may have to reallocate food from people who are hungry “to feed those who are hungrier”, said Phiri.
“Given the current levels of food insecurity and operational constraints, we expect the humanitarian needs to further deteriorate.
“Our teams are telling us that humanitarian assistance will be required well beyond 2022 and into 2023.”
Along with Afghanistan, Yemen and South Sudan, the CAR has one of the highest proportions of the population in acute food insecurity.
One of the world’s poorest countries, the CAR has been torn apart by civil wars for much of the past nine years, though the fighting has dropped in intensity since 2018.
In 2013, a Muslim-dominated rebellion overthrew president Francois Bozize, sparking reprisals from predominantly Christian and animist militias.