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Dublin: 7 °C Wednesday 13 November, 2019
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Threat of 'deadly outbreak of disease' in camps for children fleeing CAR violence

Over 935,000 people have been displaced across the country over the past year.

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(Image: Pierre Terdjman/UNICEF)

UNICEF HAS LAUNCHED an emergency vaccination campaign to reach over 210,00 children displaced by violence in the Central African Republic (CAR) as pressure mounts on embattled President Michel Djotodia.

African leaders are meeting today to begin talks in Chad’s capital to tackle the sectarian violence wracking CAR. The special summit of the ten nation Economic Community of Central African States was convened by Chad’s President Idriss Deby, who chairs the regional organisation.

There is speculation today that Djotodia, who arrived in Chad yesterday for the talks, will resign today over his failure to stop the violence between Muslim and Christian factions.

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(Image: Pierre Terdjman/UNICEF)

Today UNICEF said there is “major displacement” in the capital and vaccinations are vital with large numbers of people in overcrowded camps presenting a high risk for a serious outbreak of disease.

At least seven cases of measles have been confirmed, three of them at a site by Bangui airport where about 100,000 people fleeing the violence are staying.

“All the elements are present for a potentially deadly outbreak of disease – severely overcrowded camps, low immunity and extremely poor water and sanitation infrastructure,” said Souleymane Diabaté, UNICEF Representative in Central African Republic. “This is a deadly combination for children. Unless we act now, we could have a disaster on our hands.”

Up to two-thirds of the city’s residents have been displaced by the violence since early December and over 935,000 have been displaced across the country in the past year.

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(Image: Pierre Terdjman/UNICEF)

UNICEF is providing most of the vaccines, injection material, and operational costs, and will monitor the campaign as it unfolds over several days in dozens of sites across the city. People can donate to UNICEF Ireland’s Central African Republic Children’s Appeal online or by phoning 01 878 3000.

- With additional reporting from AFP.

Read: EU nations to consider joint military operation to Central African Republic>

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