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Brussels, 21 December 2012
Statement by Commissioner Georgieva on the new outbreak of conflict in the Central African Republic (CAR)
In view of the new outbreak of conflict in the Central African Republic (CAR), the EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection, Kristalina Georgieva, has expressed her serious concern for the people affected and her sympathy for humanitarian organisations whose bases have been ransacked: "I have been following the latest events in the Central African Republic with great concern. I am very worried about the humanitarian consequences of the new outbreak of violence in the Central African Republic. It is totally unacceptable that armed groups should attack and ransack the bases of humanitarian organisations, which have been set up to help the most vulnerable people in the country. I strongly call upon all armed groups to respect international humanitarian law and the activities of humanitarians in their country. What is happening in the Central African Republic must come to an end. The people of that country have suffered so much already in recent years and now thousands more are being forced to flee from their homes for their own safety."
Earlier this month forces of the UFDR (Union des Forces Démocratiques pour le Rassemblement) broke their ceasefire agreement and took control of the towns of Sam Ouandja and Ndélé in the North of CAR. Since then they have been advancing and have taken over several towns and defeated the CAR army along the way.
Over 35,000 people have been forced to flee from their homes for their own safety, but exact figures are hard to come by because of the remoteness of the area and the difficulty of accessing it. In Bria two humanitarian partners have had their bases ransacked, and many humanitarian personnel have been evacuated to Bangui. The humanitarian consequences of this conflict are serious, since it has restricted access to assistance and social services and caused loss of personal belongings and livelihoods. Although a few organisations are still operating in Ndélé and Bria, many humanitarian services have been suspended or reduced, pending an improvement in the security situation. The situation remains very fluid and subject to change.
In CAR as a whole there are now 90,000 internally displaced people, as a result of the activities of a whole range of rebel groups over many years. Most are in areas where there is no access even to the most basic of services.
The European Commission through its humanitarian aid and civil protection department ECHO has contributed EUR 8 million in 2012 to assist 445,000 people affected by conflict and displacement in CAR, through the provision of emergency health services, nutrition, food and non-food supplies, clean water and sanitation.