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European Commission

Press release

Brussels, 16 December 2013

Central African Republic: EU scales up humanitarian aid

The European Commission is increasing its humanitarian aid by €18.5 million to the Central African Republic (CAR) to provide immediate life-saving assistance to the most vulnerable suffering in a crisis which has affected the country's entire population of 4.6 million.

"The country is facing the worst humanitarian and human rights crisis since its independence. The number of internally displaced people has increased dramatically in recent days, to over half a million. 230,000 are refugees in neighbouring countries. The access to basic services, food and water is limited and millions of Central Africans depend on outside assistance. We need to act now by increasing our aid and bring relief to those suffering the most," said Kristalina Georgieva, the EU Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response.

EU Commissioner for development Andris Piebalgs added: "The immediate needs are so huge that the EU has the moral obligation to do all it can to provide immediate support and relief to the people who are suffering from a situation which is not of their choosing. This is why I have decided to mobilise an extra €10 million from the European Development Fund for humanitarian support to CAR. The time will come for development and reconstruction and the EU will still be there."

The additional aid will bring the EU's emergency relief to CAR this year to €39 million. The funds will support immediate life-saving activities such as distribution of essential food and survival items as well as providing shelter, health, protection, water, hygiene and sanitation. The support will be channelled through the European Commission's humanitarian partners in the country, including UN agencies and non-governmental organisations. €8.5 million of the new funding will be committed immediately before the end of this year, while €10 million will be programmed from 1 January 2014.

“Our aid is not enough to stop the suffering of Central Africans and to avoid a major food crisis that the country might face next year. We appeal to our international humanitarian and development partners to make a joint effort that can make a significant and lasting difference for the country,” said Commissioners Georgieva and Piebalgs. In addition to the humanitarian assistance, the on-going development program has been readjusted to meet the present needs of the population and increased with €23 millions.

To boost humanitarian efforts, the European Commission has deployed its humanitarian air service ECHO Flight to open up a vital line of support into and out of Bangui, the capital of Central African Republic (CAR). The CRJ 200 jet aircraft performs daily rotations between Bangui and Douala in Cameroon to ferry humanitarian goods and personnel into the country.

In addition, the European Commission has organised an airlift operation from Europe, which delivered 37 tonnes of relief supplies to Bangui.

Background

CAR has been embroiled in a decade-long armed conflict and ranks as one of the poorest countries in the world. The country has been in chaos since rebel leader Michel Djotodia ousted President François Bozizé in March this year.

The European Commission has mobilised €39 million for life-saving activities in CAR this year. This latest support announced today has been made possible through the mobilisation of €10 million from the 10th European Development Fund.

The EU – the Commission and Member States - is the leading donor to the country. Humanitarian assistance has been tripled to CAR this year.

A reinforced team of European Commission humanitarian experts in CAR monitors the situation, assesses the needs and oversees the use of EU funds.

The EU is also providing development assistance which aims to meet the basic needs of the most vulnerable people. Between 2008 and 2013, around €160 million have been allocated for the whole country through the European Development Fund (EDF).

Earlier this month, Commissioner Piebalgs announced an extra €50 million support for the African-led International Support Mission in the CAR (AFISM-CAR) in order to contribute to the stabilization of the country and the protection of local populations, creating conditions conducive to the provision of humanitarian assistance and the reform of the security and defence sector.

Last week the Commission opened up a humanitarian air bridge to Bangui from Douala, Cameroon. A delivery of 37 tonnes of humanitarian aid, mostly medical supplies, arrived in Bangui this morning from Brussels.

For more information

IP/13/1225: Central African Republic: EU steps up relief effort, launches humanitarian air bridge

IP/13/1243: Central African Republic: European Union flies in emergency aid relief

IP/13/1222: EU commits to funding the African-led International Support Mission in the Central African Republic

Central African Republic:

http://ec.europa.eu/echo/files/aid/countries/factsheets/car_en.pdf

The European Commission's humanitarian aid and civil protection:

http://ec.europa.eu/echo/index_en.htm

Commissioner Georgieva's website:

http://ec.europa.eu/commission_2010-2014/georgieva/index_en.htm

Website of EuropeAid Development and Cooperation DG:

http://ec.europa.eu/europeaid/index_en.htm

Website of the European Commissioner for Development Andris Piebalgs:

http://ec.europa.eu/commission_2010-2014/piebalgs/index_en.htm

Contacts :

Alexandre Polack (+32 2 299 06 77)

Maria Sanchez Aponte (+32 2 298 10 35)

Irina Novakova (+32 2 295 75 17)

David Sharrock (+32 2 296 89 09)


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