Today our digital ambassador is eager to find out more about the UN life-changing work in the field and there is no better way to start the journey than visiting Central African Republic (C.A.R.).
Upon arrival in Bangui, Elyx learned that for the past two years C.A.R. has been experiencing serious humanitarian and political unrest, which has resulted in a rise of refugees and internally displaced people (IDP) across the region. For instance, at the beginning of 2014, the number of IDP reached its peak of 930,000 people and over 350,000 people crossed the border to Chad, Cameroon and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) putting pressure on the neighbour’s countries.
Fortunately, in a visit to Mpoko camp for internally displaced people, near the Bangui’s International Airport Elyx was happy to see how UNICEF is working hard to improve the lives of a population facing hardships. The camp used to be a shelter for over 100,000 people at the peak of the crisis and is still home for more than 10,000 people, to whom UNICEF with partners, provides water and sanitation programs, temporary learning spaces and recreational programs for children. In addition, UNHCR also works in collaboration with the Central African authorities and maintains a strategic partnership with the Commission Nationale pour les Réfugiés, to protect both refugees and IDPs.
Elyx was shocked to learn that there are more than 400,000 refugees that have been forced by the conflict into neighboring countries. Apart from UNICEF and UNHCR, Elyx was reminded that the World Food Program (WFP) also assists 19,000 IDPs and returnees, providing nutrition assistance to 20,000 malnourished children age 6–59 months, 6,300 malnourished mothers and 2,700 caretakers of severely malnourished children are receiving treatment. Towards the end of the day, Elyx realized that the trip would not be complete without getting to play with and meet all the children in the camp.
Our digital ambassador was even more than pleased to discover that UNICEF, with the help of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA), have since May facilitated the release of more than 600 children who were under the power of armed groups. This is a crucial achievement, which with the support of social workers and medical care can help these children reach a new beginning and go back to school. Furthermore, WFP also supports school meals to facilitate the return of 55,000 primary students to school.
After a long day, Elyx was once again proud of to see how the UN is helping Central African Republic overcome challenges and create a better future for thousands of lives affected by conflict.