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European Commission

Press release

Brussels, 11 July 2013

Central African Republic: EU scales up humanitarian aid

The European Commission will increase its humanitarian aid by €8 million to the Central African Republic (CAR), Commissioner Kristalina Georgieva announced today in the capital Bangui during a joint visit with Valerie Amos, UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator.

Commissioner Georgieva and Baroness Amos are visiting CAR amid acute instability and a rapidly deteriorating humanitarian situation in the country. The additional €8 million, subject to the approval of the European Parliament and Member States later this month, will bring the EU's emergency relief to CAR so far this year to €20 million.

Since last December conflict in CAR has led to the internal displacement of 206,000 people and nearly 55,000 people have fled to neighbouring countries. Humanitarian organisations are facing exceptionally challenging circumstances in their efforts to reach affected communities and provide relief and protection.

“The entire population of more than four million people is affected by the ongoing crisis and suffer as a result of looting and violations of human rights,” said Commissioner Georgieva. “The situation is rapidly deteriorating. We must act now."

"I have seen for myself that events in CAR are having a humanitarian impact right across the central African region. There are 35,000 refugees from CAR in the Democratic Republic of Congo and over 85,000 in Cameroon. Chad, Darfur and South Sudan are also affected."

“The EU is the leading donor to the country, but our aid is not enough. I appeal to our international humanitarian and development partners for additional efforts to stop the suffering of Central Africans. At this critical moment we can all make a life or death difference to this country.”

"I welcome this announcement by Commissioner Georgieva. The needs in CAR are huge and are increasing. 1.6 million people are short of food and children are particularly vulnerable. Disease outbreaks including malaria and measles also threaten millions of people," said Valerie Amos, UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator.

The new funding represents a significant increase to the €8 million in aid which reached more than 430 000 people last year. The aim is to support immediate life-saving activities such as distributing essential food and survival items as well as providing shelter, health, protection, water, hygiene and sanitation.

The Commission's support will enable assistance to reach CAR’s most vulnerable people, including the internally displaced, refugees and returnees. The new funding will be channelled through the European Commission's humanitarian partners in the country, including UN agencies and non-governmental organisations.

Background

CAR has been embroiled in a decade-long armed conflict and ranks as one of the poorest countries in the world. Renewed fighting between the government and Seleka (an association of five rebel groups), which recently took over the capital Bangui, has left the country in turmoil.

The European Commission has been supporting life-saving activities in CAR since 2001 with a total budget of €63.7 million (€12 million so far this year). For the last five years, the European Commission has been one of the country’s main donors.

Due to difficult access to people in need of humanitarian assistance in CAR, the European Commission supports the United Nations Humanitarian Aid Service (UNHAS) with €650 000.

A team of European Commission humanitarian experts is on the ground and monitoring the situation, assessing needs and overseeing the use of EU funds. The European Commission is working with humanitarian organisations that are best placed to deliver assistance in the countries concerned (UNICEF, the International Committee of the Red Cross, UNOCHA and several NGOs).

The EU is also providing development assistance which aims to meet the basic needs of the most vulnerable people. Between 2008 and 2013, around €210 million have been allocated for the whole country through the European Development Fund (EDF).

For more information

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

Contacts :

Irina Novakova (+32 2 295 75 17)

David Sharrock (+32 2 296 89 09)


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