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UN agencies concerned on deteriorating humanitarian situation in CAR


GENEVA, Dec. 6 (Xinhua) -- UN agencies expressed deep concerns over and appealed for enhanced efforts to cope with the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Central African Republic (CAR) on Friday in Geneva .

It's reported that the violence in CAR was aggravating, especially in the national capital of Bangui where on Thursday heavy gunfires claimed as many as 100 deaths, which was reportedly as the first major fighting in the capital since March.

According to statistics from United Nations (UN), half the population of CAR, equal to 2.3 million people, needed humanitarian assistance; some 415,000 people were already displaced from their homes and 1.3 million people needed emergency food assistance. Moreover, the crisis has led to more than 68,000 people fleeing to other countries in the region since December 2012.

Valerie Amos, UN Under-Secretary-General and Emergency Relief Coordinator and head of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) appealed on Friday in a statement for all those involved in the violence in CAR to protect civilians and ensure their safety and to respect their obligations under international humanitarian and human rights law, having demanded that they must allow free and unfettered access for neutral and impartial organizations to safely deliver humanitarian aid.

OCHA said that UN and humanitarian partners have been responding to the humanitarian needs in CAR with food, shelter, water, sanitation and hygiene, health services and protection interventions and are in the process of scaling up the response.

Rupert Colville, spokesperson for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), told reporters that OHCHR was deeply concerned with the deterioration of the security situation in CAR, and planned to deploy a human rights monitoring team to CAR early next week to strengthen the existing monitoring capacity of the human rights section of the United Nations Integrated Peace building Office in the volatile African country.

Adrian Edwards, spokesman of United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), introduced that the escalating tension led to a growing number of people in CAR fleeing away from the violence-ridden country to seek shelter in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Marixie Mercado, spokeswoman of United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), told reporters that 2.3 million children were affected by the conflict in CAR, saying that seven out of ten primary school students in the CAR have not returned to school since December 2012 and 80 percent of all primary schools have stopped functioning due to the fighting.

Mercado stressed that children out of school are the most vulnerable to recruitment, with the number of children associated with armed forces and groups in the country risen to at least 3,500 and could be as many as 6,000.

"There must be no further delay in taking effective action; there can be no excuse for failing the children and families of the Central African Republic,"said Anthony Lake, UNICEF's Executive Director, highlighting that action must be impartial and swift to stop the targeting of children.