UNITED NATIONS, Feb. 15 (UPI) -- U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warned the Security Council this week the situation in the Central African Republic was becoming more dire.
Conditions in the wobbly nation were deteriorating to the point that the international community would have to put more resources on the ground to head off a humanitarian calamity, Ban said.
"Our commitment to protect civilians is only as meaningful as the political, military and financial muscle deployed to defend them," he said at Friday's Security Council meeting on cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations. "Our responsibility is clear: We must stand with the people of the Central African Republic."
The death toll in the sectarian fighting among Christian militias and Muslim rebels is estimated in the thousands, with around 2.5 million others left homeless, the United Nations said in a written statement.
France has already put troops on the ground in the CAR and the European Union has pledged to send assets as well, but Ban said the United Nations faced "an urgent test" and called on the council to come up with more ideas to stem the violence.
"I am committed to do everything in my power to prevent further atrocities and reduce the risk of de facto partition of the country," said Ban. "Now we must act together, we must act decisively and we must act now to prevent the worst."