On-going humanitarian emergency threatens the dietary standing of susceptible kids and ladies within the Central African Republic – Diet Cluster Advocacy Notice as of fifth February 2021 – Central African Republic


The Central African Republic (CAR) Nutrition Cluster partners are extremely concerned about the risk of deterioration in the nutritional status of vulnerable children and women due to the ongoing humanitarian emergency.

For the Central African Republic (ENT) Humanitarian Needs Map 2021, the Nutrition Cluster estimated that approximately 1.1 million people are in need of nutritional assistance, with 205,642 children under the age of five being acutely malnourished. 62,327 with severe acute malnutrition (SAM) at risk of death without immediate treatment and 143,315 with moderate acute malnutrition (MAM). In addition, an estimated 37,000 pregnant or breastfeeding women (PLW) are malnourished, making them prone to maternal mortality and various morbidities that negatively impact their infants. In addition, an estimated 90,000 children between the ages of 6 and 59 months and 140,000 PLW require a comprehensive feeding program. According to United Nations estimates, by April 20211, almost 1.93 million people in the Central African Republic are expected to be affected by high levels of acute food insecurity (IPC phase 3 or higher). Sourcing capacities in CAR’s markets have decreased significantly and price monitoring has shown an increase in the prices of staple foods since December 20202. Many large traders and shepherds have fled the country and fear a market collapse that could exacerbate the current food crisis. At least 63,800 people have been internally displaced3 and a further 105,300 seek protection in neighboring countries.

In addition to increasing food insecurity, vulnerable populations have also had to cope with a breakdown in basic health services since the beginning of the crisis. So far, 13 cell phone clinics and 60 healthcare facilities have suspended their health and nutrition services due to insecurity. The rainy season can start as early as March in the Central African Republic, which leads to an increase in the frequency of malaria and diarrhea. Childhood underweight (low birth weight, wasting and / or stunting) is the number one risk factor for death in children under five in the Central African Republic.

Restricted access due to insecurity, displacement of the population, deteriorated food security, restricted access to portable water, increased morbidity and poor health care will inevitably affect the nutritional status of the most vulnerable, especially children under five and pregnant and breastfeeding women . Indeed, the impact is already evident. The latest data from partners shows that at Bouars IDP in Ouest, 3 out of 4 IDP locations already have a GAM rate of> 15% in January 2021. The same situation was observed with Cesakoba and Dekoa’s internally displaced persons in Bangassou and Kemo, where the GAM was re-encoded at 26% and 13%, respectively. In addition, data from 26 locations (with a GAM rate> 15%) revealed an alarming situation. Still the predominant pocket with a high prevalence of acute malnutrition. These places are: Dekoa, KagaBandoro, Bambari, Grimari, Bouca, Koui, Bocaranga, Paoua, Bouar, Gamboula, Amadagaza, Nola, Carnot, Gadzi, Mingala, Alindao, Nzangba, Mobaye, Kembe, Satema, Bakouma, Pombolo, Ouango , Rafai, Bangassou. This may indicate a major nutritional problem among hard-to-reach populations in these areas, or people who have fled the bush for extended periods without access to health and nutrition services. Nutrition cluster partners have also seen an increase in displaced populations with high levels of malnutrition.

Both international and local humanitarian partners do a remarkable job of implementing care and treatment activities for malnourished children in very difficult circumstances. The need is considerable, however, and life-saving interventions to monitor, treat and prevent malnutrition need to be expanded dramatically, particularly in these priority areas, in order to reduce the mortality and morbidity of young children and women. Rescuing life saving materials in camps and healthcare facilities has become a challenge as road transportation has become nearly impossible due to uncertainty. Air transport is currently the most important option for delivery to partners where assistance can be provided with a minimum of security. However, the cost challenges remain.

The partners of the nutrition cluster want to treat at least 50,000 children with SAM, 164,500 children with MAM and 37,000 undernourished PLW as well as 90,000 children between the ages of 6 and 59 months and 140,000 PLW with nutritious food supplements in 2021 to prevent acute undernourishment. However, given the growing uncertainty, it is highly likely that the number of children and PLW in need of food assistance will increase significantly in the coming months. Consistent and predictable funding is critical to ensure continued and high quality treatment and prevention of malnutrition for these children and women. The current nutritional response requirements are $ 35 million, of which $ 18.2 million will be required before the end of June 2021. Resources ($ 11.2 million) are urgently needed before the end of May 2021 to ensure adequate pipeline supplies provided by UNICEF and WFP are in place, and life-saving malnutrition treatment and prevention measures can be sustained and expanded to meet needs to meet all those affected by the current humanitarian crisis in the Central African Republic.