Ongoing violence in Central African Republic (CAR) pushes forced displacement to the highest levels since the start of the crisis in 2013.

Almost a quarter of the population has been displaced and 542,380 CAR refugees have fled to neighbouring countries. 

A recent surge in violence in the country’s north-west has led over 17,000 Central Africans to flee to neighbouring Chad since the end of December – some ten times more than during the whole of 2017. This is the biggest refugee influx from CAR to Chad since 2014.

UNHCR is distributing basic relief items to the displaced and works with partners to construct new community shelters. If the return of the displaced is not possible over the next months, UNHCR is concerned that the affected villages will miss the planting season, which may lead to food shortages later during the year.

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Recent massacres have sent thousands of Central Africans fleeing their homes in search of safety

Protection Protection

Agnes lies with her baby son in the maternity ward of the clinic in Bangui.

Medicine Medicine

Fidel with the survival kit he received from UNHCR staff to help rebuild his family’s home


Supplies Supplies

Fadhi and Mairama collect water at a UNHCR tap stand in the town of Bossangoa.


Get the facts about our impact

Food Food Food
Shelter Shelter Shelter
Protection Protection Protection
Medicine Medicine Medicine
Reuniting Families Reuniting Families Reuniting Families

Providing Food 

Malnutrition is a common consequence of conflict and displacement. UNHCR works with the World Food Programme (WFP) to ensure that all refugees have access to adequate nutrient-rich food. UNHCR assists with the distribution of food rations in camps and provide urban refugees with vouchers and cash assistance for the purchase of food and groceries. In acute situations, UNHCR supports emergency nutrition and therapeutic feeding programs, supplying fortified milks and ready-to-use therapeutic foods.

Long-running conflicts, low crop yields and rising food prices have resulted in acute food shortages throughout central Africa. UNHCR is working hard to deliver and distribute food in the camps for CAR refugees in Chad and Cameroon. This includes providing all families with a nourishing meal on arrival, high-energy biscuits, and an initial one-week food ration. We also supply therapeutic foods for the treatment of severe malnutrition.

Providing Shelter

UNHCR provides refugees with emergency shelter — tents, tarpaulins and demountable housing — in the immediate aftermath of displacement. More broadly, we are responsible for site planning and camp management to ensure refugee settlements are economically, socially and environmentally sustainable. For those living outside camps, UNHCR funds the rehabilitation of communal shelters, the construction of new homes and rental assistance for those in urban situations. UNHCR also provides materials that displaced people need to build a home themselves under self-help schemes.

Fearing nightly attacks, thousands of Central African families have sought safety in fenced facilities like mosques, churches and airports. Living conditions at these sites are dire, with insufficient toilets, water facilities, shelter and healthcare. UNHCR is tackling the logistical challenges of supplying vital food, water and medical supplies to thousands of men, women and children as they arrive seeking protection.

Providing Protection

Children and families fleeing violence, war, disaster or persecution can be very vulnerable. UNHCR supplies displaced people with essential items, food and shelter to protect them from having to make dangerous decisions to survive. On a larger scale, UNHCR negotiates safe passage, asylum spaces and humanitarian access, upholding the rights of refugees and minimising the threat of violence, including sexual assault.

Sexual and gender-based violence is a tragic feature of conflicts in this region of Africa and displaced women and girls are at particular risk. UNHCR is supporting women fleeing from CAR to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, providing medical care and counselling for rape survivors, safe camp environments and livelihood programs. We also provide training for local services and programs to change community attitudes to violence against women.

Providing Medication

UNHCR facilitates access to basic healthcare for refugees through camp clinics and local healthcare providers. Priority health services include emergency medical care for those who have suffered violence, reproductive services and treatment for infants and the elderly. UNHCR also coordinates immunisation programs to prevent the spread of diseases in crowded refugee settings.

People arriving at refugee sites have often been walking for weeks, sometimes with little to eat or drink. As a result, UNHCR staff report high rates of malnutrition. UNHCR provides paediatric nurses, medical supplies and therapeutic foods to treat children affected by malnutrition. Our nutrition specialists monitor the nutrition status of children and oversee supplementary feeding programs for both children and women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Reuniting Families

Families often become separated during forced displacement and flight. UNHCR makes use of registration data to locate separated family members and reunite them where possible. UNHCR also works with its partners to share information between refugee sites and provide safe accommodation and psychosocial support for unaccompanied and separated children.

UNHCR is constantly on the lookout for children arriving at refugee sites on their own. Our protection officers ensure that these children are safe and cared for. They may be temporarily placed with another family or given special shelter assistance and protection until their relatives can be located. UNHCR works with its partners to share information between refugee sites, trace family members and accompany children to be reunited with their loved ones.

Get the latest statistics on the emergency in CAR.

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