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Time running out for the hungry in Central African Republic

The United Nations said today the numbers of hungry and displaced persons in the Central African Republic (CAR) is increasing rapidly. Lack of funds may tragically prevent most from receiving food aid by next month.

These volunteers from the displaced community help unload a truck full of WFP food rations at Saint Joseph Mukasa church in Bangui. Over the past weeks, violence has intensified in CAR, sending ever more people fleeing their homes in fear.
These volunteers from the displaced community help unload a truck full of WFP food rations at Saint Joseph Mukasa church in Bangui. Over the past weeks, violence has intensified in CAR, sending ever more people fleeing their homes in fear. WFP/Djaounsede Pardon Madjiangar

WFP says it's "facing immediate shortfalls from January. From February there will be a near complete break in stocks (90% shortfall)." The UN food agency relies entirely on voluntary funds. Without donations food supplies will simply run out.

Since Christmas there has "there has been a 40 per cent increase in people displaced in Bangui, the capital," as violence between rebel groups continues. Since the Seleka rebels overthrew the government earlier this year, the CAR has been plunged into violent chaos.

Around one fifth of the population has been forced from their homes by the fighting. They have lost their livelihoods and depend on humanitarian aid.

The U.S. Food for Peace program has helped WFP distribute "more than 1,700 metric tons (MT) of food to nearly 237,000 people throughout CAR since the beginning of December." This includes 174,000 people in the capital of Bangui and 63,000 people in Bossangoa and Bouar towns.

However, WFP is going to need over 73,000 metric tons of food for the next 6 months. Through August, WFP will need at least US $107 million to feed over one million in the CAR. This depends if donors from the public and governments come through to help those suffering in a conflict-torn country.

WFP has set up a donation page for the Central African Republic.