The European Commission is increasing its humanitarian aid by €18.5 million to the Central African Republic (CAR) to provide immediate life-saving assistance to the most vulnerable suffering in a crisis which has affected the country's entire population of 4.6 million.
"The country is facing the worst humanitarian and human rights crisis since its independence. The number of internally displaced people has increased dramatically in recent days, to over half a million. 230,000 are refugees in neighbouring countries. The access to basic services, food and water is limited and millions of Central Africans depend on outside assistance. We need to act now by increasing our aid and bring relief to those suffering the most," said Kristalina Georgieva, the EU Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response. EU Commissioner for development Andris Piebalgs added: "The immediate needs are so huge that the EU has the moral obligation to do all it can to provide immediate support and relief to the people who are suffering from a situation which is not of their choosing. This is why I have decided to mobilise an extra €10 million from the European Development Fund for humanitarian support to CAR. The time will come for development and reconstruction and the EU will still be there."
The additional aid will bring the EU's emergency relief to CAR this year to €39 million. The funds will support immediate life-saving activities such as distribution of essential food and survival items as well as providing shelter, health, protection, water, hygiene and sanitation. The support will be channelled through the European Commission's humanitarian partners in the country, including UN agencies and non-governmental organisations. €8.5 million of the new funding will be committed immediately before the end of this year, while €10 million will be programmed from 1 January 2014. “Our aid is not enough to stop the suffering of Central Africans and to avoid a major food crisis that the country might face next year. We appeal to our international humanitarian and development partners to make a joint effort that can make a significant and lasting difference for the country,” said Commissioners Georgieva and Piebalgs. In addition to the humanitarian assistance, the on-going development program has been readjusted to meet the present needs of the population and increased with €23 millions.