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Part III Coordination Activities in the Field

Integrated Regional Information Newworks (IRIN)
Middle East
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Central African Republic

Despite a return to constitutional legality following the election of President Francois Bozizé, the situation in the Central African Republic (CAR) continued to deteriorate. In 2005, people continued to die from preventable diseases, including measles and meningitis. Maternal and under-five mortality rates remained at the levels of a country experiencing war, though the civil war ended in March 2003, and the spread of HIV/AIDS continued, with infection rates up to 22 percent in some areas of the country.

The vulnerability of the population was compounded by growing violence in the northern provinces , already worst affected by humanitarian crisis. The impossibility of resuming basic social services in these areas and the disruption of livelihoods resulting from widespread insecurity increased the vulnerability of those in need, in particular in relation to food security and health. During the second half of the year, growing banditry and fighting between government forces and armed rebel groups forced 15,000 Central Africans to seek refuge in southern Chad . Thousands more were internally displaced. Aid agencies' responses were constrained by a general lack of access to affected populations. Up-country, UN field offices' radius of operations was limited to an average 20 km. Only five international NGOs operated in the country and the capacity of relief organisations remained insufficient overall to address humanitarian needs.

Key objectives
. Advocate and support the effective and timely provision of humanitarian assistance to vulnerable populations in need

. Strengthen intervention and expansion of humanitarian space

. Support the transition from humanitarian assistance to post-crisis development

OCHA consolidated its presence in the country and established various humanitarian fora for UN, nternational and national partners. The office oganised and led various assessment missions aimed at expanding the reach of humanitarian interventions. In the second half of 2005, OCHA deployed a humanitarian affairs officer and a public information officer to support the office of the HC. OCHA was instrumental in collecting new humanitarian data and in creating a network of humanitarian relays, a network of partners spread throughout the country for the timely collection and sharing of data and humanitarian information.

In August 2005, OCHA coordinated and led the UNCT's response to floods in Bangui that left thousands homeless. OCHA endeavoured to increase media and public coverage of the humanitarian situation in the country, organising numerous media and advocacy events.

The office led the mid-term review of the 2005 Appeal. Given an evolving humanitarian situation in the context of a profound structural crisis, CAR remained one of the most misunderstood and neglected emergencies in the world. The US$ 26 million total requested in the 2005 CAP was only 34.70 percent funded, with worrying implications for the nutritional and health situation of the most vulnerable, given already degraded infrastructure and basic social services.

During 2005, OCHA also dispatched missions to support the Consolidated Appeal Process for 2006 and led the preparation of the CAP.

In its attempt to ensure a smooth transition from humanitarian assistance to development, the office contributed to the preparation of the United Nations Development Assistance Framework.

Performance evaluation
In 2005, OCHA led a number of exercises and activities that helped improve the coordination between partners in response to the humanitarian situation. However, due to persisting constraints, most of the key objectives set for 2005 were not met.

The lack of consensus of stakeholders on the essence of the crisis persisted and remained a major obstacle to an effective and timely humanitarian response. For the third time, the CAP was one of the most chronically underfunded, with only 35 percent of total requests met. A planned donor mission to the country had to be cancelled due to a general lack of interest.

At the end of 2005, humanitarian relays, established by the OCHA team to facilitate the regular flow of information on affected populations throughout the country, had to be suspended due to lack of funding. The dearth of local partners and the limited capacity of the government and the UN system to respond to emergences was an additional impediment to effective humanitarian response. The humanitarian space remained limited. The deterioration of the security situation in the most affected provinces of the country continued to limit humanitarian access to the most vulnerable population and did not allow for a deployment of UN Agencies in the field.

The humanitarian situation deteriorated during the year, and funding requirements increased from US$ 26 million in 2005 to US$ 47 million when the 2006 CAP was launched in November. In that context, the plan to facilitate a transition from humanitarian assistance to recovery could not be meaningfully implemented. The transition process was also affected by the absence of an agreed vision and concerted strategy in the international community to address the situation in the Central African Republic .

OCHA will be reviewing its presence in the country in 2006.




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