Fearing for their lives, hundreds of thousands of families in the Central African Republic have fled their homes, many having witnessed brutal violence.

A year into the civil conflict in the Central African Republic, some 508,757 people have been displaced within the country and over 416,437 people have fled to Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Republic of Congo and Chad.

In areas where fighting has been heaviest, thousands of women, children and families have fled to seek safety in mosques, churches and public buildings, reporting a fear of nightly attacks. But living conditions at these sites are appalling and disease is rife, threatening the youngest and the most vulnerable. Many people have resorted to sleeping in the open despite the rain.

UNHCR is alarmed by the deteriorating security conditions. Our staff are on the ground, distributing tents, blankets, sleeping mats and other relief items to ease the suffering of the mostly women and children who have fled their homes. We are also providing counselling to those who are traumatized. We have deployed emergency staff to respond to the urgent needs of refugees in neighbouring countries that have been arriving in poor health from the Central African Republic to receive shelter and protection.

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