Homelessness in the Central African RepublicCurrent ethnic conflicts have resulted in the destruction of over 1.1 million people’s homes in the Central African Republic. Here are the causes and impacts of homelessness in the Central African Republic.

Causes of Homelessness

The causes of homelessness in the Central African Republic are poverty, a devastating Civil War and recent floods. In 2018, around 70% of the Central Africans lived in extreme poverty on less than $1.90 a day. Poverty makes it even more challenging to escape homelessness in a country full of conflict. Also, Over one million people are homeless in the Central African Republic as a result of their Civil War. Currently, more than 643,000 people are internally displaced in the Central African Republic while 500,000 people have become refugees in Chad, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Republic of Congo and Cameroon. On top of that, recent 2019 floods have destroyed more than 10,000 homes. Of the 44,918 people affected 20,000 of those people were displaced from the capital city of Bangui. Homes and livelihoods were defenseless as major flooding occurred in over 16 cities.

Impacts of Homelessness

Homelessness has contributed to the fragility of the nation and child soldiers, and it has negatively affected certain religious groups as well. The Central African Republic is the 6th most fragile country in the world. A fragile nation is measured by the indicators of instability like homelessness, for example, in a country. The high numbers of refugees and displaced people without a home are examples of social indicators of the fragility of the Central African Republic. Political indicators include the amount of humanitarian aid needed and the violent conflicts civilians face.

Homelessness has also contributed to war resulting in child soldiers and the destruction of communities. The exploitation of homeless children occurred as 10,000 children were forced into joining army groups in the civil war. Additionally, the number of people who fall under displacement and homelessness is still on the rise. Expected attacks by armed groups force residents to find safety in other towns or in displacement camps with poor living conditions. Most recently, around 5,000 people became homeless from May 18 to May 20 of this year as a result of violence between army groups and government forces.

Muslims living in Bangui had to flee the city due to violence against them. Most of their empty homes were illegally sold and are now occupied. There is a complicated process when it comes to returning homes to owners since few people have title deeds; therefore, the number of cases that have been solved is only 18 out of 475. Muslims are afraid to return, and those who do return find other people living in their homes. The Norwegian Refugee Council in Bangui and local mayors are working to solve housing disputes and return stolen land to end homelessness.

The Future of the Central African Republic

The Central African Republic needs humanitarian aid more than ever. In 2018, there were 396 attacks against humanitarian workers. As fighting ensues, violence against humanitarian aid groups is causing them to leave areas that need their support the most. This places strains on the amount of help that Central Africans receive. Over 50% of the population needed humanitarian aid in 2019, but less than 30% of people received support.

The government of the Central African Republic has been successful in its creation and implementation of the Humanitarian Response Plan, which provides more aid to ensure internal security. In 2019, donors raised 300.3 million dollars to improve the living conditions of citizens and prevent conflict. This Humanitarian Response Plan supported 1.1 million people, including those facing homelessness in the Central African Republic.

Hannah Nelson

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Drought in Afghanistan
Afghanistan, a landlocked Asian country, is experiencing the worst drought in the past five decades. The United Nations has estimated that 2 million people have been affected by the drought and that 1.4 million people are in need of urgent food assistance. Several years of low rainfall and snowfall have led to the seriousness of the drought in Afghanistan.

The Drought in Afghanistan

The drought has affected 20 provinces in the country. Almost 1.5 million people rely on agriculture products for food in these affected regions. It has majorly affected the planting of wheat and livestock pastures. The Famine Early Warning System Network has placed many regions in Afghanistan in a crisis state and some regions are even considered to be in emergency phases. Due to the drought in Afghanistan, the number of households in the crisis to emergency phases are expected to rise even more.

The Effect on Refugee Crisis

The recent drought in Afghanistan has added more pressure to the refugee and displaced person population in the region. Water levels are so low that, in some areas, dry wells are driving even more people to leave the country.

Continuous conflict and unemployment have been a typical factor of migration in Afghanistan, but now the drought adds to the problem. During the recent refugee crisis, Afghans were the second largest group of refugees. Countries like Iran and Pakistan are no longer welcoming Afghanistan refugees and are even encouraging refugees to return home. Those who are unable to leave the country move into urban cities in order to find work to provide for their family.

International Response to Drought in Afghanistan

The European Union has recently added $22.7 million in emergency aid to the region in response to the severeness of the drought in Afghanistan. The recent funding will help to provide assistance to projects on the ground. These ground projects include food assistance, water, sanitation and health care.

A portion of this help will come from the EU’s own Emergency Response Mechanism that provides assistance to vulnerable regions. The Humanitarian Country Team also plans to revise their Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) to ask for $177 million in aid to assist people affected by the drought. The revision of the HRP plans to reach 4.2 million people across the country in various aspects, especially agriculture, sanitation and nutrition. These programs aim to ensure food security in the region as the number of households in need of emergency assistance increases.

There is hope for the region to somewhat sustain itself. The coming of Fall and El Nino, routine climate pattern, are promising to planters in Afghanistan. El Nino is expected to provide more than average precipitation in the coming season. The areas planted for wheat are expected to be higher than average due to the prediction of high precipitation.

This prediction, however, is one of many and there are other outcomes for the spread of rainfall. Hopefully, rainfall will return to the region and provide farmers with the resources to plant and harvest. As long as the people in urgent need of humanitarian aid are assisted, there is hope to ensure food security for those most affected by the drought in Afghanistan.

– Olivia Halliburton
Photo: Flickr

Lessens Food Insecurity

On March 4, the U.N. released a $5 million grant to benefit approximately 108,000 Congolese citizens as part of a three-year aid plan. Dubbed the Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP), it is an initiative from multiple aid agencies in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The HRP is designed to concentrate on the basic needs, including the reduction of food insecurity for 6.7 million people in the DRC.

The DRC has been embroiled in clashes for nearly 20 years. The situation disintegrated even further in August 2016, when rebel militia leader Kamwina Nsapu was killed by government forces. The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported that at least 400 people were killed in the DRC in the backlash from that assassination. Hundreds of thousands more were forced from their homes.

The Most Vulnerable

The vast number of people needing assistance has forced aid groups to operate on a triage basis. The OCHA estimates that four million people will experience malnutrition, with 3.5 million of them being children, and 847,000 people facing acute malnutrition.

To help mitigate the food insecurity in the DRC, the HRP requested $748 million over a period of three years. Unfortunately, the OCHA reported that the previous years’ request was only 60 percent funded.

Without full funding, aid agencies have been forced to concentrate on “the most vulnerable among the vulnerable.” The conflicts have forced some of these people to shelter in the bush. Often, they don’t have access to clean drinking water, food or basic health services.

Can Many Hands Make Light Work?

Despite the potential financial shortfall, hope lies ahead. There are many other partners and agencies involved in the effort to save lives and fight food insecurity in the DRC. In December 2016, OCHA joined forces with UNICEF, Action Contre la Faim and the Adventist Development Relief Agency (both NGOs) to battle the crisis. The European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO) is also stepping up to address the situation in the DRC. They assist in regions affected by fighting and they respond to critical incidents surrounding epidemics and malnutrition.

UNAIDS representative Mamadou Diallo summarized the need for awareness and financial support to address food insecurity in the DRC: “It is imperative that appropriate attention is brought in support of those impacted by humanitarian crises regardless of where they happen. The humanitarian community is fully committed to responding and calls on donors to support the response activities.”

Although the $5 million grant from the U.N. is a far cry from OCHA’s $748 million target, hopefully it will galvanize other individuals and groups to support the DRC crisis.

Gisele Dunn

Photo: Flickr