EMERGENCIES

CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC REFUGEE CRISIS

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1.9

million Central Africans have been displaced from their homes, over a third of the country’s total population.  

700,000

Nearly 700,000 people have been internally displaced in the Central African Republic. 

90%

Over 90 percent of those fleeing the escalating violence surrounding the 2020 elections have found refuge in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

About the Crisis in The Central African Republic

The Central African Republic is a landlocked country in the heart of Africa that consistently ranks as one of the poorest and most fragile countries in the world. The country has struggled with armed conflict and instability for several years. 

In 2013, an outbreak of violence between armed groups forced more than 640,000 people to flee the country in search of safety, and an additional 630,000 were internally displaced. The majority of those who fled the country sought refuge in neighboring countries such as Cameroon, Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and the Republic of the Congo, with smaller numbers in Sudan and South Sudan.

Today, the Central African Republic continues to experience sporadic surges of violence. The most recent occurrence was in December 2020, after a troubled election displaced more than 200,000 people in less than two months. These recent displacements bring the number of displaced Central Africans to over 1.9 million, representing over a third of the country’s total population. In 2022, an estimated 3.1 million people will need humanitarian assistance, accounting for 63% of the population.  

The continued volatility and violence has also led to worsening gender-based violence (GBV) across the country. In the first half of 2021, over 6,330 GBV cases were reported, and sexual violence made up a fourth of all cases. Currently, sexual violence poses the greatest security risk to women and girls, especially IDPs. 

map with central african republic highlighted in blue

VIDEO

The Central African Republic: A Forgotten Crisis

What is UNHCR doing to help Central African refugees?

 

The UN Refugee Agency is advocating at all levels for the safety and security of all civilians and ramping up lifesaving assistance to support those who have been forced to flee.

Inside the Central African Republic, UNHCR focuses on delivering shelter and basic relief items to support the growing number of IDPs. In neighboring countries, it assists new arrivals while building refugee’s livelihoods and ability to sustain themselves. UNHCR is also working with other humanitarian partners to support protection activities and humanitarian assistance throughout the region.

After the most recent outbreak of violence, UNHCR has also started working in close collaboration with the DRC government to register more than 1,000 new arrivals per day and has pre-positioned emergency supplies in certain hard-to-reach areas of the country that are inaccessible during the looming rainy season.

Learn more about What We Do.

Stories from the Central African Republic crisis

Conditions dire as CAR displacement tops 200,000

Number of Central African refugees soars as violence intensifies

More stories about the Central African Republic refugee crisis >

Central African Republic Camps and Settlements

Central African refugees sit outside their makeshift shelter in the village of Ndu, Democratic Republic of Congo.

  • Cameroon hosts nearly 50 percent of CAR's refugees.
  • 61 percent of Central African refugees in the DRC are children. 
  • In December 2017, more than 22,000 Central Africans fled to Chad - the biggest influx of Central African refugees to Chad since 2014.
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