06 Jun THE CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC: the WFP’s Success in 2015
Poverty, Hunger, and Humanitarian Crisis in the Central African Republic
Poverty and hunger are two things that are difficult to separate and are related to each other. The poor do not necessarily suffer from hunger, but people who starve must be poor. This proves that poverty is a factor causing hunger, while hunger is a dimension of extreme poverty or the most severe one. The Central African Republic is experiencing food insecurity due to political turmoil and national security and it is very difficult to recover its economy. The United Nations brings this humanitarian issue and seeks to solve the problem by assigning the issue to the Sustainable Development Goals.
Take a Look Closer at One of The Poorest Countries in the World
In relation to the humanitarian crisis that occurred in the Central African Republic, international institutions are needed to help restore stability to the country, especially in resolving the lack of food. The World Food Program (WFP), an organization under the auspices of the United Nations, raises the issue of hunger with various focuses on making it easier for people to access food through their approach by providing work programs, from technical assistance to small farmers to feeding and vaccinations to treat child stunting and malnutrition.
Basically, vulnerable countries are those that suffer from political instability, such as widespread corruption in various regions, weak institutions, and scarce resources. Especially in the Central African Republic, which is known for its humanitarian crisis, caused by prolonged conflict and unstable government since its independence from France in 1960. The Central African Republic is one of the poorest countries in the world, despite its wealth in mining; diamonds, gold, oil and uranium. Since 2012, armed conflict has persisted in the country and disrupted food production leaving 2.5 million people, nearly half of the population, suffering from hunger.
WFP in the Central African Republic
The humanitarian crisis in the Central African Republic worsened in 2013 due to a political coup that displaced 1.2 million people. The agricultural sector which is the main contributor to GDP in the Central African Republic was also disrupted so that the economy fell and had a bad impact on agricultural production. When the economy is disrupted due to incompetent government, food producers will leave their business, food prices will increase due to scarcity and insecurity. Difficult access to food, failure of market mechanisms, and soaring food prices all reinforce each other.
According to the United Nations World Food Program (WFP), the level of hunger in the Central African Republic is very worrying, not only is there a shortage of food, but also forced to consume foods that cannot meet their nutritional needs. WFP contributes to providing emergency food and nutritional support as a form of recovery. By 2015, WFP had provided food to nearly 400,000 people by distributing food, nutritional support, school supplies, and providing cash as support to improve infrastructure through food-for-assets activities. Their main focus is on the most vulnerable populations in need of food assistance to recover and survive.
Food distribution began to be carried out to the southern border town of Bangassou for 7,200 people, then to Alindao and Bria, mostly women and children who were given special nutritious food for under two years of age. The distribution of food was carried out by land and air to the three cities where the tragedy occurred. Therefore, the people of the Central African Republic depend heavily on humanitarian assistance to survive. WFP with UNHCR, UNICEF, and several non-profit organizations are helping refugees and others affected by the crisis return home when the area is more stable. Next, the focus will shift to livelihood restoration.
Meanwhile, to support long-term food security, WFP has a program to improve the nutrition of children, people with disabilities, and HIV patients. They will receive daily vaccinations and fortified foods designed to treat and prevent malnutrition. In an effort to restore agricultural production, WFP supports smallholder productivity to build food security and resilience to future crises. Farmers receive technical assistance and market opportunities to increase income.
Meanwhile, WFP’s focus shifted to support the Zero Hunger policy and the government’s own social security program. The aim is that in the following years, the government can take full responsibility for crisis management and resilience restoration. However, long distances, poor infrastructure, insecurity and the absence of commercial airlines hinder the achievement of Zero Hunger in the country. Therefore, WFP together with UNHAS and ETC work together to improve humanitarian access, communication, and logistics to ensure safe access and efficiency to populations in need.
In doing so, WFP helps the people of the Central African Republic to access food, obtain good nutrition, support smallholders, help strengthen humanitarian and early recovery capacities, and help support humanitarian work.
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