Thousands of displaced people in Bangui received essential survival supplies on Wednesday (December 18) that would allow them to better deal with the situation for the next few days.

Most of these people have been at the airport camp site for almost two weeks with very little in the way of supplies.

Previous attempts to deliver food have been quashed because of security reasons and the risk of mob killings and rioting.

Over 1,000 people were killed in a week of bloodshed which began on December 5 in Bangui when fighters of both sides went door-to-door murdering civilians.

Some victims were lynched or stoned to death, residents said.

The U.N. refugee agency UNHCR said that attacks have continued in the town of Bossangoa, several hundred kilometres north of the capital, where 40,000 people are seeking protection in a church.

Some 210,000 people have been displaced by violence in Bangui over the last two weeks, it said, and hundreds have risked their lives by fleeing the country by boat across a branch of the Congo river.

The U.N. World Food Programme has warned that up to a quarter of the mineral-rich nation's 5.2 million population risks going hungry.

While European nations including Poland, Britain, Germany, Spain and Belgium have provided various forms of assistance, French troops are intervening alone for the second time this year after ousting Islamist rebels in Mali, another former French colony.

Diplomats said the ground troops involved could come from Belgium and Poland and may be used to relieve French forces who are securing the airport in Bangui.

Presented by Adam Justice

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