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European Commission

Press release

Brussels, 6 May 2014

EU steps up efforts to help refugees fleeing violence in Central African Republic

The European Commission is increasing by six million euros its life-saving assistance to help a hundred thousand Central African Republic refugees who have been forced to flee to Cameroon and Chad.

The funding comes on top of the Commission's support of €4 million to Central African refugees since the country's crisis escalated last December. It will help the refugees to meet their basic needs including shelter, food, health, protection, water, sanitation and hygiene. It will be split 50-50 between Cameroon and Chad, the neighbouring countries which are facing the biggest influx of refugees.

"The terrible situation in Central African Republic is a regional crisis and with the number of refugees still increasing there is little prospect of them being able to return home. They are all dependent on our rapid humanitarian assistance to survive," said Kristalina Georgieva, EU Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response, during a visit to Cameroon where she is assessing the humanitarian situation and holding meetings with the government and NGOs.

"With the annual rainy season arriving, we are bound to face an even more critical humanitarian situation unless the international community steps up its support now. And it is absolutely essential that all Central Africans who have been forced to flee their homes are given a chance to return home safely – in particular the many Muslims who have had to flee the inter-religious violence of recent months."

The on-going crisis in the Central African Republic (CAR) has already forced an estimated 100 000 people since December into Cameroon, Chad, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the Republic of Congo, bringing the number of Central African refugees in neighbouring countries to almost 350 000. At least 70 000 refugees have arrived in Cameroon, more than 12 000 in the Democratic Republic of Congo, 8 000 in Chad and more than 8 000 in Republic of Congo.

The new funding brings the Commission's relief aid for the Central African crisis to €51 million since December 2013. The new funds come from the European Development Fund and are still subject to final approval by the Member States.

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. More than 600 000 people have been internally displaced, 178 000 in the capital Bangui alone.

The EU is the largest provider of relief assistance to the country, with €76 million in 2013 (including the EU and Member States contributions). Humanitarian aid from the European Commission tripled last year to €39 million. The Commission has organised humanitarian airlifts to get relief supplies and personnel directly into the country. A team of European humanitarian experts is present on the ground, 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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