Concern grows at lack of humanitarian access in Central African Republic

From Global development | The Guardian Fri Jan 4 2013, 07:48:38

The latest upsurge in fighting in the country has abruptly halted the provision of health services to more than 300,000 people

Humanitarian groups have expressed alarm at the lack of access to more than 300,000 civilians caught up in the fighting in the Central African Republic, where rebels have seized regional capitals and mining areas in the north east of the country.

The Séléka coalition of rebel fighters have advanced to within 75km of Bangui, the capital, since launching their assault on 10 December. The rebels have said they will not attack Bangui and have agreed to peace talks next week in Gabon's capital, Libreville, organised by African leaders.

"An estimated 316,000 people are living in the affected areas, and some 700,000 persons in Bangui are at further risk of an escalation in fighting," the UN office for the coordination of humanitarian affairs (OCHA) said on Wednesday night.

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