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U.N. says at least half of Central African Republic needs aid

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Jeffrey Feltman, political affairs chief with the U.N. told the Security Council on Monday that the Central African Republic is on the brink of a catastrophe, with half the population of Bangui, the capital, being made homeless because of the violence.

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Feltman said that in Bangui, a total of 513,000 people have been driven from their homes, with over 100,000 residing in a temporary refugee camp outside the city's airport. Additionally, over 2.2 million people, about half the country's total population, need assistance.

The U.N. said today that a lack of security, funding and access is hampering efforts to reach those in need of humanitarian aid in the war-torn country. UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) is painting a bleak picture of the situation in the impoverished country.

A year of violence has taken on more of a religious connotation, as Christian and Muslim militias launch increasingly bloody and vengeful attacks. The OCHA also says insecurity has made it almost impossible to provide an emergency measles vaccination program, after an outbreak of the virus started across the country Jan. 3.

The Central African Republic has had a precarious life since winning independence from France, including going through five coups. The latest came in March, when predominantly Muslim-backed Seleka militia and other rebel groups from the northeast seized Bangui, and ousted the president, Francois Bozize, who was forced to flee to Cameroon.

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