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European Commission

MEMO

Brussels, 30 December 2013

Central African Republic: only concerted international action can prevent an appalling tragedy from spiralling further out of control

Reacting to the escalating humanitarian catastrophe in the Central African Republic (CAR), Kristalina Georgieva, EU Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response, has made the following statement:

"The humanitarian tragedy in the Central African Republic continues to unravel in front of our eyes. The entire population of 4.6 million people is affected. 800,000 people are internally displaced. Since early December in the capital Bangui alone, the number of internally displace people (IDPs) has grown from 30,000 to now over 370,000. 230,000 people have sought refuge in neighbouring countries, underlining the regional dimension of the disaster.

Ever since the beginning of the current crisis, in March 2013, security and protection of civilians have been the primary concern, both for the population of CAR and to prevent the crisis spreading to other parts of the region. This remains the case. The ongoing intervention by France in support of African forces, in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 2127, is of crucial importance for the protection of civilians and to contribute to an environment in which humanitarian assistance can be delivered safely to all in need.

The number of people in need of life-saving assistance is increasing by the hour. Yet, humanitarian organisations face enormous difficulties to operate unhindered throughout the country. To avoid this tragedy spiralling further out of control, now is the time for concerted action. Those who fight must hear the plea of their people and of the humanitarian organisations to allow help to get to all in need. If necessary, there should be an increase in the international security presence.

Together with UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos, I have called a high-level meeting in Brussels on 20 January 2014 to take stock of the humanitarian challenges in CAR and identify priorities for a sustained and effective humanitarian engagement. Crucially, on the ground, the imperative remains to provide security for civilians and create a safe environment for the delivery of much-needed assistance by humanitarian agencies."

The European Commission's Department for Humanitarian Assistance and Civil Protection (ECHO) has experts in CAR, liaising with partner organisations. In 2013, the Commission has provided almost EUR 40 million in emergency relief, in addition to the important contributions from EU Member States. The Commission has also put in place a humanitarian air bridge into CAR from neighbouring Cameroon through its humanitarian air service, ECHO Flight. Commissioner Georgieva has visited CAR twice in 2013, in July (jointly with UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos) and in October 2013 (jointly with French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius).

Contacts:

John Clancy +32 498/953 773 - John.Clancy@ec.europa.eu

David Sharrock +32 460/750 628 - +32 2 296 89 09 - David.Sharrock@ec.europa.eu

Irina Novakova +32 498/957 517 - +32 2 295 75 17 - Irina.Novakova@ec.europa.eu


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