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Continuing population displacements driven by persistently unstable security situation

  • Remote Monitoring Report
  • Central African Republic
  • April 2015
Continuing population displacements driven by persistently unstable security situation

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  • Key Messages
  • Projected Outlook through JUNE 2015
  • Key Messages
    • The food security situation in the Central African Republic is marred by continuing population movements from conflict areas under attack by armed groups. The number of displaced persons as of March 2015 is estimated at 436,256, up from 426,308 in February 2015 and 390,718 in November 2014. A large part of the displaced population is concentrated in Ouham, Nana Gribizi, Ouaka, Ombelle Mpoko, Loubaye, and Bangui prefectures.

    • As of April 2015, displaced households and their host families in prefectures in the central, northwestern, and southern reaches of the country have been facing Crisis (IPC Phase 3) levels of acute food insecurity due to the continuing attacks in these areas disrupting food access and livelihoods activities.

    • The continuing security crisis will likely also result in a reduction in cropped area during the coming season, leading to another shortfall in food production for the third consecutive year. Displaced households and affected resident populations will be subject to Crisis (IPC Phase 3) levels of acute food insecurity until at least September, with a minority of the worst-off households more than likely facing Emergency (IPC Phase 4).

    ZONE

    CURRENT ANOMALIES

    PROJECTED ANOMALIES

     

    National

    • Armed conflict across the country
    • Displacement of numerous populations from conflict areas under attack by armed groups
    • Growing food consumption needs with the presence of DPs in host households
    • Premature depletion of food reserves
    • Closure of the border with Chad
    • Below-average volume of cereal trade
    • Continuation of the conflict
    • Continuing population displacements
    • A growing season marred by the downsizing of cropped areas resulting in a shortfall in food production
    • A continued below-average volume of cereal trade

     

    Displaced populations and host households in Ouham, Ouham Pendé, Nana Gribizi, Ombolla M’Poko, Ouaka, and Nana Mambere

    • Ethnic violence
    • Presence of new DPs in host households and camps
    • Market disruptions
    • Sharp contraction in income-generating activities
    • Heightened dependence on humanitarian assistance programs hampered by continuing attacks
    • Perpetuation of current anomalies

    Projected Outlook through JUNE 2015

    According to the Commission on Population Movements, the number of displaced persons increased from an estimated 390,718 in November 2014 to 426,308 in February 2015 and, as of March 2015, was up to 436,256. This growth in the size of the displaced population is a reflection of the visible deterioration in the security situation since the beginning of the year. The largest increases in DP counts are in Ouham, Ouaka, Nana Gribizi, Haut Mbomou, Haute Kotto, Ombelle Mpoko, Loubaye, and Bangui prefectures. With the decrease in attacks in certain prefectures, as of the beginning of March 2015, an estimated 95,000 displaced persons had returned to these areas.

    The shocks produced by the attacks and resulting population displacements prompted the NGO Première Urgence-Aide Médicale Internationale (PU-AMI) to conduct a rapid food security assessment in Amada-Gaza sub-prefecture (in Mambéré Kadéi prefecture) in March 2015 where cassava is grown as a food crop on an average of 0.25 hectares per household. The main livelihood activities of poor households in this area are farm labor and hunting and gathering. However, according to the results of the rapid assessment, the closing of the main trade route between this area and Cameroon due to security problems and the flight of local populations have had an impact both on short-term food consumption and on crop production prospects in this area. Only 52 percent of area households have access to arable land. The security problems in other parts of the country, which have not yet invaded this area, are hampering the free movement of local households, particularly to crop-growing areas. Moreover, displaced households no longer have access to their fields, which has heightened their vulnerability in an area where the degraded condition of the road network used to bring in supplies is curtailing food availability on local markets and driving up prices.

    In addition, local populations no longer have access to certain types of foods such as beef since the departure of pastoralists for Cameroon at the beginning of 2014. The sudden tightening of available supplies of animal food products has driven up the cost of animal protein. The price of a chicken, for example, has jumped from 1,000 XAF to anywhere from 3,000 to 4,000 XAF, prompting households to replace it with wild game meat, which they find to be less expensive.

    The findings by the same assessment by PU-AMI show a breakdown in the food security situation in March 2015, with 36 percent of households obtaining a low food consumption score, compared with only one percent in July 2014. Home-grown cassava crops and hunting and fishing activities are normally important sources of food for local populations but, since the beginning of the conflict, area households no longer have access to these food resources.

    Likewise, a multi-sectoral assessment conducted in Kouango sub-prefecture (in the Ouaka region) in February/March 2015 shows a shortage of market supplies of food products in general and staple foodstuffs in particular. Most of the markets in this sub-prefecture are closed. Food reserves and livelihood assets (seeds, small farm implements, etc.) have been burned and/or pillaged by armed groups. The ongoing armed conflict has been disrupting the progress of the growing season and livelihood activities (hunting and gathering) in this area since 2013.

    The findings by a joint CRS-DRC-FAO-Government mission show large concentrations of animals in southeastern areas of the country normally found in the northwest. The largest concentrations of livestock are on basically fallow lands, which need to be readied for the beginning of the growing season in the next few weeks. This could heighten competition for access to natural resources and, with the presence of pastoral household members driving their livestock, will more than likely lead to new incidents, resulting in further displacements.

    The conflict has dramatically reduced the size of areas planted in cassava, as well as available market supplies of this crop. The continuing conflict is hampering hunting, gathering, and fishing activities and contributing to increasing the IDP population in areas where livelihood activities have been severely eroded for resident households. Food consumption by displaced populations living in camps or with poor resident households and populations is marginal and, in most cases, reduced to one or two meals a day. There is insufficient income from livelihood activities to cover necessary expenditures to meet food and livelihood protection needs. There will be Crisis (IPC Phase 3) levels of food insecurity in settlement areas for displaced populations between now and August/September, with small populations of worst-off households more than likely facing Emergency (IPC Phase 4).

    Figures Seasonal calendar for a typical year

    Figure 1

    Seasonal calendar for a typical year

    Source: FEWS NET

    Figure 2

    Source:

    In remote monitoring, a coordinator typically works from a nearby regional office. Relying on partners for data, the coordinator uses scenario development to conduct analysis and produce monthly reports. As less data may be available, remote monitoring reports may have less detail than those from countries with FEWS NET offices. Learn more about our work here.

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