Nearly half of the population of the Central African Republic is facing hunger, the United Nations warned after completing an emergency food security assessment.
About 2.5 million people, half the country’s population, have limited access to food, according to the U.N.’s World Food Program.
It pointed out that over the past year, the number of hungry people in the nation has doubled.
“WFP is extremely concerned by this alarming level of hunger,” said Guy Adoua, the WFP’s deputy country director in the nation.
“This is not the usual run-of-the-mill emergency. People are left with nothing.”
The ongoing conflict, which broke out in 2013 between Muslim Seleka rebels and Christian anti-balaka militia, has taken a huge toll on the population, Adoua said.
People are forced to take extreme measures to survive, WFP spokeswoman Adel Sarkozi said.
They have sold their belongings and animals, and pulled their children from school.
“People are almost at the end of the rope,” she said.
Sarkozi recalled the story of a young single mother of four. After falling ill, she was unable to work and her children had to beg for food until she got better. Her story reflects the hardship that many others across the country are experiencing.
The latest wave of clashes that erupted in September displaced more citizens, and people who tried to return home had to flee again, Sarkozi said.
Nearly 1 million people are displaced inside the nation or are seeking refuge in neighboring countries, according to the U.N.
The nation will vote in the second round of the presidential election on January 31. Analysts say it will be a big step toward peace and stability for a nation tormented by war.