The top UN humanitarian official in the Central African Republic (CAR) on Wednesday underlined the need for safe access to vulnerable people following two recent attacks against aid organizations operating in the south of the country.
Denise Brown, UN Humanitarian Coordinator in the CAR, was deeply shocked and dismayed by the attacks, which occurred on 7 and 9 April.
Six aid workers and a health district worker were injured, one seriously.
Vulnerable people at risk
The attacks forced one humanitarian organization to suspend its mobile clinics and activities to improve access to clean water for some 11,000 people in remote areas in Basse-Kotto prefecture.
“Every time humanitarians come under attack, the lives of thousands of vulnerable people are at risk. Aid workers who assist people under extremely difficult conditions must not be attacked,” said Ms. Brown.
The CAR has a population of around five million people, more than half of whom depend on humanitarian assistance.
A challenging environment
The country is among the most challenging for aid workers, according to the UN humanitarian affairs office, OCHA, and security incidents hamper delivery of desperately needed aid.
Between 1 January and 15 April of this year, some 43 incidents affecting humanitarian organizations there were recorded, with 11 aid workers injured.
Last year, at least one incident per day was recorded, half of which were burglaries, robberies and intrusions.
“Civilians are the primary victims of the conflict in the Central African Republic and humanitarian assistance is a matter of life and death for millions of people. Humanitarians who come to their rescue in a neutral and impartial manner must be granted free and safe access,” said Ms. Brown.
More than three million people in the CAR, 63 per cent of the population, will need humanitarian this year.
The figure includes 2.2 million people with severe needs who humanitarians said may not survive without the required assistance and protection.
Last year, agencies assisted some 1.8 million people in emergency situations.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG).