United Nations humanitarian chief Stephen O’Brien is releasing US$12 million from the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) to support life-saving assistance for the people affected by renewed violence in the Central African Republic (CAR). This brings CERF support to CAR and the neighbouring countries since the beginning of the crisis in 2013 to $81 million.
“The situation in CAR remains devastating,” said the UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator. “The ongoing crisis has been deepened by the recent violence, elevating the suffering of CAR’s population to unprecedented levels. It is also increasingly difficult for humanitarians to reach people in need of life-saving assistance and protection.”
Since September, more than 62,000 people have been newly displaced in Bangui, Bambari and Dekoa as a result of fighting between armed groups, attacks on villages and upsurge in criminality. These new displacements have resulted in increased humanitarian needs in CAR, where some 2.7 million people are already in need of immediate assistance and where humanitarian operations are already overstretched. The latest violence also affects the ability of responders to access vulnerable people, with humanitarian stocks being looted, property destroyed and continuing attacks on humanitarian workers.
Despite these challenges, humanitarian response in CAR continues and will be boosted by the new CERF funds. CERF grants will be used to provide basic services – including water, sanitation and healthcare – for the newly-displaced and to strengthen humanitarian operations and improve access across the country.
“We must do all we can to continue ensuring the protection of innocent civilians in CAR,” said Aurélien Agbénonci, the Humanitarian Coordinator in the country. “The latest CERF funds will be crucial to achieve this – by enabling us to increase and maintain the humanitarian presence across the country, as well as by giving humanitarians crucial resources to provide critical services to those in need.”
“CERF continues to provide a lifeline for humanitarian operations in CAR, but additional funds are urgently needed to meet the scale of the challenge,” Mr. O’Brien said. “I urge donors to continue supporting relief efforts in CAR.”
Since 2013, almost 400,000 people have fled their homes to seek refuge inside CAR, while more than 450,000 have sought refuge in neighbouring countries. In response to the crisis, CERF allocated some $46 million for live-saving humanitarian operations in CAR, while an additional $35 million was used for protection of and assistance to refugees, returnees and host communities in Cameroon ($13.8 million), Chad ($12.7 million), Congo ($3.8 million) and the Democratic Republic of the Congo ($5 million).
CERF pools donor contributions in a single fund so that money is available to start or continue urgent relief work anywhere in the world. Since its inception in 2006, 125 UN Member States and dozens of private-sector donors and regional Governments have contributed to the Fund. CERF has allocated almost $4.1 billion in support of humanitarian operations in 94 countries and territories.