Twenty percent of the people living in the restive Central African Republic – 1.1m people — are under threat from hunger because of poor harvests and violence, the UN’s World Food Programme (WFP) has warned.
They “are unable to meet their daily food needs on a regular basis or require food assistance in order to get by,” the agency said in a statement.
The impoverished landlocked nation has been mired in chaos since the Seleka coalition of rebels ousted longtime president Francois Bozize in March.
Although officially disbanded, Seleka elements continue to operate as a proto-militia, with reports of them looting villages and clashing with vigilante groups.
Because of the conflict and ongoing violence, “many farmers fled their farms, leaving crops untended. The majority of households said that their livestock had been stolen. Some families sold livestock and seeds to survive, while others sold herds for fear of displacement or looting,” the WFP said, based on a recent security survey.
The agency was worried food from the last harvest could run out at the beginning of 2014, four months earlier than usual.
“The survey found that there may not be enough food in the country to cover people’s needs through January/February 2014,” it said.
The Central African Republic’s interim prime minister, Nicolas Tiangaye, said on November 7th his government needed $900m (€670m) in foreign financing over the next 18 months to stabilise the country.