Central African Republic crisis is neglected, U.N. says

March 5, 2014 at 9:43 AM

GENEVA, Switzerland, March 5 (UPI) -- With neighboring countries starting to suffer from fighting in Central African Republic, a U.N. delegate said it's time the world paid attention to the crisis.

Melissa Fleming, a spokeswoman for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, said nearly 300,000 people have fled violence in CAR to Chad, Cameroon and Ethiopia.

"We are appealing to our partners and the governments in these countries to help speed support to these populations, which although still relatively small in number, are nonetheless in urgent need of assistance," she said in a statement Tuesday from Geneva, Switzerland.

More conflict erupted in the Central African Republic last year when Seleka, a Muslim rebel coalition, toppled the government. The United Nations and International Criminal Court said reprisal attacks by anti-balaka, a Christian militia, have pushed the country to the brink of civil war.

Thomas Gurtner, U.N. humanitarian coordinator in Chad, said CAR refugees are arriving injured and sick.

"The world needs to take notice of this human tragedy," he said.

CAR is one of the poorest countries in the world.

Denise Brown, West Africa regional director for the U.N. World Food Program, said the situation in CAR was getting desperate.

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