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Study Shows Worsening Humanitarian Disaster in CAR

UNITED NATIONS, Jul 24 2014 (IPS) - Violence has resulted in widespread deaths in the Central African Republic (CAR) in one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises.

One in three families surveyed lost at least one family member between November 2013 and April 2014, the medical humanitarian organisation by Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), or Doctors Without Borders, said in a report.

About 95 percent of the over 2,000 casualties examined derived from gunshot, grenade or other blast wounds, it said.

“It is a disaster characterised by unspeakable violence targeted against civilian populations, catastrophic levels of preventable disease and death,” said Sylvain Groulx, MSF Head of Mission in CAR. “CAR has devolved into a nightmare of even graver proportions.”

The country of 4.6 million people in central Africa has been wracked by violence between the anti-Balaka Christian militants and the Seleka-aligned Muslims.

A country rich in oil, gold and uranium, CAR has one of the world’s lowest gross national income per capita, at 320 dollars in 2013, according to the World Bank (WB). Its life expectancy is also among the shortest, at 49 in 2012.

Violence targeted at the Muslim minority has driven nearly all the Muslim population in the western area of the country to fled in several months, said MSF. However, they continued to face risks while seeking refuge in neighboring countries.

Hundreds of people died during the transfer to Chad, most of them due to violence, MSF said, adding that Chad’s decision to close its border for security reasons in May has complicated the situation of the Central African refugees. More than 120,000 people have sought refuge in Chad since last December.

“While Chad has the legitimate right to maintain the security of its territory, it is crucial that the fundamental right for people to flee violence is guaranteed and respected,” said Dounia Dekhili, Deputy Manager of MSF Emergency Programmes.

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