UN sounds alarm over CAR cri­sis

Lesotho Times - - Africa -

Ms Moeti’s com­ments were prompted as she toured Mon­rovia’s health fa­cil­i­ties and Ebola-hit com­mu­ni­ties last week, where she met beatrice Yor­doldo, the last Liberian pa­tient to leave a treat­ment cen­tre alive.

Ms Yor­doldo, who was dis­charged on 5 March 2015, said the “ma­jor­ity of the sur­vivors” she had spo­ken to were com­plain­ing of im­paired sight and hear­ing, headaches and other com­pli­ca­tions.

The WHO ac­knowl­edged the is­sue as early as Oc­to­ber, when it car­ried an in­ter­view on its web­site with a psy­choso­cial sup­port of­fi­cer in Ken­ema, eastern Sierra Leone.

“We are see­ing a lot of peo­ple with vi­sion prob­lems. Some com­plain of clouded vi­sion, but for oth­ers the vis­ual loss is pro­gres­sive. I have seen two peo­ple who are now blind,” Mar­garet Nany­onga said.

Ms Nany­onga, who calls the prob­lem “post-ebola syn­drome”, said vis­ual prob­lems had af­fected around half of Ebola sur­vivors in Ken­ema, while oth­ers com­plained GENEVA — The united Na­tions warned Mon­day it had re­ceived only a frac­tion of the funds needed to ad­dress strife-torn Cen­tral African Repub­lic’s tow­er­ing hu­man­i­tar­ian cri­sis, forc­ing it to cut des­per­ately needed aid.

“We must pre­vent the Cen­tral African Repub­lic from be­com­ing a forgotten cri­sis,” said Claire bour­geois, the un hu­man­i­tar­ian co­or­di­na­tor for the coun­try.

CAR is strug­gling to re­cover from the coup that ousted pres­i­dent Fran­cois boz­ize in March 2013 and trig­gered a wave of deadly sec­tar­ian vi­o­lence be­tween the coun­try’s Chris­tian and Mus­lim pop­u­la­tions.

Now, a tran­si­tional gov­ern­ment faces the up­hill task of re­build­ing a shat­tered ad­min­is­tra­tion. but it is al­most en­tirely de­pen­dent on for­eign funds, and the econ­omy is in ru­ins.

About half the pop­u­la­tion of 4.6 mil­lion peo­ple live in se­vere poverty and need hu­man­i­tar­ian aid, while 1.5 mil­lion are con­sid­ered food in­se­cure, ac­cord­ing to the un.

Law­less­ness mean­while con­tin­ues to af­fect many of the coun­try’s re­gions, with con­tin­u­ing vi­o­lence forc­ing some 50 000 peo­ple to flee to neigh­bour­ing coun­tries since last De­cem­ber and dis­plac­ing more than 20 000 more in­side the coun­try.

CAR is strug­gling to re­cover from the coup that ousted pres­i­dent Fran­cois boz­ize in March 2013 and trig­gered a wave of deadly sec­tar­ian vi­o­lence be­tween the coun­try’s Chris­tian and Mus­lim pop­u­la­tions.

Now, a tran­si­tional gov­ern­ment faces the up­hill task of re­build­ing a shat­tered ad­min­is­tra­tion. but it is al­most en­tirely de­pen­dent on for­eign funds, and the econ­omy is in ru­ins.

About half the pop­u­la­tion of 4.6 mil­lion peo­ple live in se­vere poverty and need hu­man­i­tar­ian aid, while 1.5 mil­lion are con­sid­ered food in­se­cure, ac­cord­ing to the un.

Law­less­ness mean­while con­tin­ues to af­fect many of the coun­try’s re­gions, with con­tin­u­ing vi­o­lence forc­ing some 50 000 peo­ple to flee to neigh­bour­ing coun­tries since last De­cem­ber and dis­plac­ing more than 20 000 more in­side the coun­try.

Since De­cem­ber 2013, nearly 900 000 peo- of joint, mus­cle and chest pain and ex­treme fa­tigue.

“We need to un­der­stand why th­ese symptoms persist, whether they are caused by the dis­ease or treat­ment, or per­haps the heavy dis­in­fec­tion,” Ms Nany­onga said.

With re­search thin on the ground, health au­thor­i­ties have no real mea­sure of the ex­tent of the prob­lem, but it doesn’t ap­pear to be con­fined to Africa.

Amer­i­can nurse Nina Pham, who was in­fected while car­ing for a Liberian man at a Texas hos­pi­tal, told the Dal­las Morn­ing News last month she had ex­pe­ri­enced hair loss, aches and in­som­nia af­ter be­ing given the all-clear in Oc­to­ber. ple have been dis­placed, in­clud­ing more than 460,000 who have be­come refugees — a full 10 per­cent of CAR’S pop­u­la­tion.

Yet de­spite the mas­sive cri­sis, the un hu­man­i­tar­ian agency OCHA has so far re­ceived only 14 per­cent of the $613 mil­lion it says it needs to ad­dress the cri­sis in­side CAR this year. The un refugee agency UNHCR has mean­while pulled in only nine per­cent of the $331.2 mil­lion it has ap­pealed for to help refugees and host com­mu­ni­ties in neigh­bour­ing coun­tries in 2015.

“We are mak­ing a strong plea to the donors,” Liz Ahua, the un refugee agency’s re- gional co­or­di­na­tor, told re­porters in Geneva.

The lack of funds means that un agen­cies are un­able to ad­dress all of the nu­mer­ous needs. CAR refugees in Chad are for in­stance re­ceiv­ing just half food ra­tions, mean­ing they are living on half the calo­ries deemed nec­es­sary to stay healthy, Ahua said.

The lack of funds this year has been com­pounded by years of un­der­fund­ing.

“If the coun­try has so many hu­man­i­tar­ian needs, it is be­cause it has been forgotten for years be­fore, and cri­sis af­ter cri­sis has just (left) this coun­try more in the dark,” bour­geois told re­porters. — AFP

French sol­diers stand guard dur­ing a cer­e­mony mark­ing the power trans­fer be­tween French San­garis troops and cen­tral African gen­darmes on 13 March 2015

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