Food crisis plagues war-torn CAR

Feb. 18, 2013 at 8:09 AM

BANGUI, Central African Republic, Feb. 18 (UPI) -- Food costs in the Central Africa Republic increased 40 percent in areas under military control, a report from the United Nations said.

The U.N. World Food Program expressed concern about a potential food crisis in CAR. It said conflict that erupted during a rebellion from the Seleka coalition had sparked the situation.

The WFP said trade has been interrupted in parts of the country controlled by the rebel group. Basic food prices for areas under government control, meanwhile, have increased 40 percent since December.

WFP called on the rebel group to let humanitarian workers into its parts of CAR. An estimated 800,000 people live in areas under rebel control.

"We are very concerned about prospect for the 2013 growing season, which is due to start in just a few weeks," Rockaya Fall, the Food and Agriculture Organization's country representative, said in a statement. "Land preparation, which should have begun, is behind schedule in many places, due to insecurity."

CAR is one of the poorest countries in the world. A Jan. 11 cease-fire between CAR leaders and the Seleka group outlined a power-sharing agreement lauded by the United Nations. Looting, however, has been reported as widespread in parts of the country since then.

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