Press release

UK offers lifeline as crisis worsens in Central African Republic

UK will provide healthcare, clean water and logistical support in response to a severe escalation in the humanitarian crisis.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Photograph of a burnt village in CAR
A melted shoe is all that remains of a burnt village hit by violence in the north-west of Central African Republic. Picture: Simon Davis/DFID

The UK will provide emergency healthcare, clean water and logistical support to hundreds of thousands of people in the Central African Republic in response to a severe escalation in the humanitarian crisis there, International Development Secretary Justine Greening has announced.

The new £10 million support package will allow the Red Cross, UN and international aid agencies to dramatically step up their relief programmes as the ongoing fighting and risk of harvest failure is likely to create a severe food crisis in the coming months.

Following a coup in March this year, the UN now estimates that the entire population have been affected by this conflict and that 1.6 million people – or one third of the population - are in dire need of protection, food, health, clean water and sanitation or shelter. More than 600,000 people have already been displaced from their homes.

International Development Secretary Justine Greening said:

It is clear the situation in the Central African Republic is deteriorating rapidly with reports of violence and tension between communities. Hundreds of thousands of people have already fled their homes and are entirely dependent on outside relief.

This investment will help make sure that we get urgent relief supplies to those in need and to protect vulnerable groups like girls and women.

DFID humanitarian experts deployed to the Central African Republic have been monitoring the deteriorating situation. The new support will provide:

  • £3 million for the International Committee of the Red Cross to provide health services and water distribution for hundreds of thousands of people as well as protection services for the vulnerable, particularly women and children

  • Transportation for aid workers and relief supplies to remote parts of the country through a £1 million contribution to the UN Humanitarian Air Service

  • £1 million for the UN’s Common Humanitarian Fund to enable a wide range of aid agencies and charities already working on the ground to step up their work

  • A new £5 million emergency response fund to provide immediate funding to international aid agencies as required. The funding will be allocated through a competitive bidding process early next year as and when agencies launch appeals. This will ensure agencies can scale up their work as quickly as possible.

The UN Deputy Secretary General, Jan Eliasson said on the 25 November the situation was deteriorating rapidly and a robust international response was important. This follows reports of extreme violence, torture and human rights abuses around the town of Bossangoa.

Notes to editors

The new support from the Department for International Development will bring the UK’s humanitarian support to the Central African Republic to £15 million in 2013/14. The original £5 million launched in July is already supporting thousands of people with improved water and sanitation, healthcare, emergency nutrition and the provision of food, shelter and livelihoods support.

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Published 30 November 2013