OCHA OPERATIONS CHIEF “EXTREMELY CONCERNED” ABOUT SITUATION IN CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC; SEES NEW HOPE IN DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO
NEW YORK, October 30, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- OCHA's Director of Operations, John Ging, said today that he was extremely concerned about the situation in the Central African Republic (CAR), which he described as “a tinderbox.”
“Half the population of the Central African Republic is in need of humanitarian aid,” said Mr. Ging. “There has been a complete breakdown of law and order and the first priority is protection and the restoration of security and stability. The atrocities against civilians are indescribable.”
Mr. Ging recently returned from a three-day visit to the CAR with the Emergency Directors of several UN agencies and International NGOs. He said that during a visit to Bossangoa in the north of the country, they had witnessed both Muslim and Christian communities taking shelter in fear of attacks.
“This is a new dimension to the crisis,” said Mr. Ging. “We see incitement of religious communities against each other by armed groups targeting the population for their own gain. This is sowing the seeds of a profoundly dangerous development.” He and his colleagues had appealed to community and religious leaders to continue working together to calm the situation.
Mr. Ging said that in areas around Kaga-Bandoro, where troops from the Central African Multi-National Force (FOMAC) were stationed, the Emergency Directors found the situation calmer and more stable, and people were beginning to return, showing the possibility of progress.
The Emergency Directors also spent three days in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), where Mr. Ging said there were signs that the unrelenting humanitarian crisis was at a crossroads.
“There are new opportunities and prospects,” Mr. Ging said. “This was my fourth trip to DRC in two years, and the sense from our discussions was that there is a new commitment at all levels, and particularly from the local authorities, to do better. But Mr. Ging said funding for the DRC remained a problem, with just 61 per cent of the $892 million requested for 2013 received so far.