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Humanitarian Situation Continues To Worsen In CAR; Food Security Deteriorating, FAO Says

“The humanitarian situation in the conflict-wracked Central African Republic (CAR) is deteriorating, with 450 people killed in the capital Bangui and 159,000 others driven from their homes in Bangui in the last week alone, United Nations agencies reported [Friday], as the largest airlift of emergency supplies since the violence erupted arrived in the capital,” the U.N. News Centre reports (12/13). In addition, “160 people were reported killed in other parts of the country, Adrian Edwards, a spokesman for the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, told reporters [in Geneva], relaying information provided by Central African Republic’s Red Cross organization and the Danish Refugee Council,” the New York Times writes. “The assessment came as French troops exchanged gunfire with suspected former rebels groups in Bangui, according to the Associated Press, and the African Union announced that it would raise the number of its peacekeeping troops to 6,000 from 2,500 in a bid to curb the anarchy and bloodshed that has swept the country in recent months,” the newspaper adds (Cumming-Bruce, 12/13).

The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) warned Monday that the country is “now facing a looming food crisis” and “call[ed] for urgent action to provide crop seeds to farmers,” the U.N. News Centre writes in a separate article (12/16). “According to the FAO-supported Integrated Food Security Phase Classification, about 1.29 million people, or more than 40 percent of the country’s rural population, are in need of urgent assistance — nearly double the estimated level in February 2013,” an article from the FAO states (12/16). According to the New York Times, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) “on Thursday criticized the United Nations in an open letter to its top official responsible for coordinating emergency aid, Valerie Amos, citing ‘the unacceptable performance of the United Nations humanitarian system’” (12/13). “The letter, signed by Joanne Liu, the organization’s international president, spoke of failure to respond to ‘glaring’ humanitarian needs and ‘extreme’ security precautions,” Devex writes (Ravelo, 12/16). In the weekend edition of NPR’s “Listen to the Story,” correspondent Rachel Martin speaks with MSF’s Sylvain Groulx about the humanitarian and security situation in CAR (12/15).