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Food shortage could drive CAR deeper into crisis

Source: Reuters - Wed, 12 Feb 2014 00:27 AM
Author: Reuters
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While this market appears normal in the Central African Republic, residents assure its prices are not.

SYLVANUS KOSSINGOU, SPICE VENDOR, SAYING:

"We live in a war-like situation, so everything is expensive, everything is blocked. Nothing works. The trucks that come from Cameroon, the cattle farmers who bring the beef from Chad, everything has stopped. There's nothing, so we are forced to live through this situation as it is."

Sectarian violence is forcing dozens of Muslim traders and drivers to either flee, or not enter the country at all.

Now with only small amounts of pork, vegetables and peanuts, food supplies are growing scarcer and more expensive.

The international aid organization, Oxfam, now fears what will come next.

STEVE COCKBURN, OXFAM REGIONAL CAMPAIGNS AND POLICY MANAGER, SAYING:

"If nothing's done the situation will get much, much worse in Central African Republic. Already there's 1.3 million people who need food assistance. That number will grow. What we'll see, unless communities are better protected, is that more populations, more traders, more herders will flee the country and there will be a breakdown in supply in Bangui and beyond."

More than 2,000 people have been killed in recent months.

Residents fear many more will die soon.

NADEGE KODO, WOMAN IN MARKET, SAYING:

"We are very worried because if this food shortage goes on, we won't have anything left in the markets, and a lot more people will die. There will a lot more deaths."

With nine out of 10 people only able to afford to eat just once a day, the U.N. believes the country is on the brink of disaster.

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