The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and its partners on Tuesday appealed for 210 million U.S. dollars to cope with the continuing outflow and deteriorating condition of refugees from the Central African Republic (CAR).
The new appeal is a revision of a regional refugees response plan, initially launched in April to cover the four asylum countries of Chad, Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), and the Republic of Congo.
The new appeal is lower than the initial 274 million U.S. dollars sought due to fewer-than-projected refugee arrivals in the DRC and the exclusion of returnees in Chad covered in the first appeal.
However, needs have grown in Cameroon, where the majority of refugees are arriving. A total of 111 million U.S. dollars is being requested in the revised plan, almost double of what was initially requested.
The UNHCR noted more than 357,000 people fled CAR for the four host countries since the crisis started in December 2012. Some 160,000 of them have fled since December 2013 after clashes intensified between the Seleka alliance and anti-Balaka militia.
"The new refugees show signs of the brutal violence they have escaped in CAR. They have walked for weeks through the forests with little to eat or drink. In April and May, as many as 40 percent of all the new refugees, children as well as adults, were suffering from malnutrition," UNHCR spokesman Babar Baloch told a press conference in Geneva.
He noted that malnutrition rates were particularly serious among the new arrivals in Cameroon, where "over 60 per cent of the refugees are women and children, with a high number of unaccompanied children."
Despite the escalating needs, the CAR situation remains one of the most poorly-funded emergencies. Less than one-third of the revised plan has been funded so far, he added.
"The under funding is badly hampering our ability to provide even basic survival assistance for the refugees, and even less to the host communities," said Baloch.