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European Commission

Press release

Brussels, 17 March 2014

Central African Republic: European Union airlifts emergency aid relief

The European Commission is transporting for the third time urgently needed humanitarian assistance directly into the conflict-stricken Central African Republic (CAR). The humanitarian situation in the country remains dramatic.

"The humanitarian needs are enormous with the entire population affected by the ongoing crisis. Over 232 000 people are uprooted from their homes in Bangui alone and over 650 000 people are displaced throughout the country. Their lives depend on our assistance and we must deliver it now," said Kristalina Georgieva, the EU Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response.

Today, a transport aircraft will take off from Oostende, Belgium for the CAR capital Bangui, carrying around 100 tonnes of relief supplies including medicines, therapeutic feeding, water, sanitation items, telecommunication equipment and two vehicles to support aid operations.

Ten humanitarian non-governmental organisations –Médecins du Monde (MDM), the Spanish, Dutch and French sections of Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), Action contre la Faim, the French Red Cross, Save the Children, Merlin, the Norwegian Refugee Council, Première Urgence - Aide Médicale Internationale and the International Rescue Committee (IRC) – are involved in the airlift.

In December 2013, when the humanitarian crisis in CAR took a big turn for the worse, the European Commission organized a daily air bridge for relief workers and relief goods between Cameroon and Bangui, using planes from the EU's humanitarian air service, ECHO Flight. The Commission also organized cargo flights with relief goods (notably medicines and emergency shelter materials) to CAR, from Europe and from Kenya, in December and January 2014.

Background

The Central African Republic ranks among the world's poorest countries and has been embroiled in a decade-long armed conflict. The surge of violence in December 2013 exacerbated this situation and today more than half of the 4.6-million-strong population is in need of immediate aid.

Today's airlift operation is part of the reinforced engagement of the European Commission to address the increasingly acute humanitarian situation in the country. The European Commission has been supporting life-saving activities in CAR with €45 million alone since the escalation of violence started in December 2013. For the last five years, the European Commission has been one of the country’s main donors.

The European Commission provides support in several sectors including protection, access to health care, food and nutrition, drinking-water distribution, sanitation services, logistics and humanitarian coordination as well as catering for the needs of those directly affected by fighting. The Commission also deliver aid to the growing number of refugees from CAR in neighbouring countries.

A team of European humanitarian experts is there monitoring the situation and working closely with partner organizations to ensure that aid reaches those who need it most.

For more information

Central African Republic factsheet:

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

Contacts :

David Sharrock (+32 2 296 89 09)

Irina Novakova (+32 2 295 75 17)

For the public: Europe Direct by phone 00 800 6 7 8 9 10 11 or by e-mail


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