UNITED NATIONS, April 25 (Xinhua) -- Confrontations between armed groups and attacks on villages have continued over the past week in the central part of the Central African Republic (CAR), UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters here Friday.
"Up to 4,500 people in the Ouaka prefecture and 800 people in the Kemo prefecture have fled their homes and taken shelter at religious sites to avoid being caught in crossfire," Dujarric said at a daily news briefing here, quoting the UN Office for the Coordination for Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
The dire humanitarian situation has improved in Boda for some 24,000 vulnerable civilians, the spokesman said. "They have received food and medical assistance as well as nutrition, non- food items and water, sanitation and hygiene support."
The World Food Program (WFP) said its distributions are continuing in Boda to assist people who had been isolated due to violence and would expand nationwide. "WFP has now transferred over 1,800 metric tons of food to the provinces, of which more than 80 percent was from Bangui," said the spokesman.
The United Nations Children's Fund said the number of children being treated for severe acute malnutrition in Bangui's largest in- patient center during the first quarter of 2014 has tripled, compared to last year's figures.
John Ging, OCHA's director of operations, will start a visit to CAR from Saturday through April 29, Dujarric added.
Thousands of people are believed to have been killed, and 2.2 million, about half the population of the CAR, need humanitarian aid as a result of the conflict which began in December 2012, when mainly Muslim Seleka rebels launched attacks.
More than 650,000 people are still internally displaced, and more than 290,000 have fled to neighboring countries for refuge from the conflict, which has taken on increasingly sectarian overtones as mainly Christian militias have taken up arms.