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UN Warns Central African Republic of Crisis

UN Warns Central African Republic Risks Major Humanitarian Crisis As Donations Lag

New York, March 17 2004 5:00PM

A United Nations expert on humanitarian affairs today warned that the Central African Republic (CAR) is running the risk of a major crisis in the next few months as the country struggles to recover from a rebellion that led to a coup a year ago.

Ramiro Lopes da Silva, Special Humanitarian Adviser for CAR in the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs recently returned to Geneva from a three-week assessment tour of the country, starting 25 February, during which he held talks with national authorities and staff from humanitarian agencies.

He told journalists today that serious problems in the country, if not solved, could lead to a major crisis in the coming months.

Mr. da Silva's visit was the first high-level UN humanitarian mission since March 2003, when CAR leader Francois Bozizé seized power after a six-month rebellion.

OCHA has estimated that 20,000 people were internally displaced because of the political-military dispute and another 42,000 refugees fled north to neighbouring Chad, although many have returned.

Only $700,000 have been collected for CAR in the most recent UN Consolidated Appeal - a small fraction of the target amount of $16.8 million.


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