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Emergency relief to the Central African Republic

In recent days and weeks, the civil war in the Central African Republic (CAR) has led to a rapidly deteriorating humanitarian situation. Almost half of the country’s population are in urgent need of emergency relief, and this week the UN declared the situation a Level 3 emergency (the highest level of emergency), corresponding to the situation in Syria and the Philippines.

Muslim girl in the mosque in Bambari in the Central African Republic.

Muslim girl in the mosque in Bambari in the Central African Republic.

Photo: Laurence Geai/SIPA

In recent days and weeks, the civil war in the Central African Republic (CAR) has led to a rapidly deteriorating humanitarian situation. Almost half of the country’s population are in urgent need of emergency relief, and this week the UN declared the situation the situation a Level 3 emergency (the highest level of emergency), corresponding to the situation in Syria and the Philippines.

Minister for Development Cooperation Rasmus Helveg Petersen states: "I am greatly concerned by the developments in the Central African Republic. In the last few days and weeks, the situation has developed into a serious humanitarian crisis. Denmark has not previously been heavily involved. But there is a need now to intervene with humanitarian aid to help the victims of the conflict with protection, food, water, medical treatment and decent health conditions.”

The Minister for Development Cooperation will earmark DKK 25 million, allocating DKK 10 million to the International Red Cross’ humanitarian activities and DKK 15 million to the UN’s CAR Common Humanitarian Fund (CHF-CAR). The Danish support is aimed partly at contributing to the Red Cross efforts to protect almost half a million people as well as the Red Cross support for the two hospitals and three health clinics set up to care for the injured and help the victims of sexual-based violence, and partly at contributing to the UN emergency relief efforts through the Common Humanitarian Funds (CHFs) that support the emergency relief response of both UN organisations and NGOs in the conflict-affected country.

The International Red Cross (ICRC) has almost doubled its appeal for funds to support its response in the country – from approx. DKK 89 million in 2013 to approx. DKK 144 million in 2014. ICRC expects to reach a total of more than 556,000 people with protection activities as well as through support to two hospitals and three health clinics. The support for the hospitals focuses on nursing the injured, and a particular effort is being made to help victims of sexual-based violence.

For several years, the UN’s CAR Common Humanitarian Fund (CHF-CAR) has been supported by Sweden, Ireland, the UK and the Netherlands, and now also by Denmark. The fund finances activities implemented through both UN organisations and NGOs in the country. Having declared the situation in the country a Level 3 emergency, the UN has acknowledged a huge need for additional support, and the UN plans to use the fund as a key instrument in the ongoing financing and coordination of priority efforts in the current crisis.

The humanitarian situation in CAR is very much rooted in an ever more intense civil war. The widespread violence has led to over 533,000 internally displaced people, and the UN has reported that 459 people have been killed in the capital Bangui in recent days. Houses, schools and health clinics have been burned down in large parts of the country. According to the UN, more than 2.6 million of the country’s population of 4.6 million are in urgent need of aid in the form of food, health services, protection, water and sanitation. Only 30 per cent are estimated to have access to clean drinking water, and there is a major need for health services. The opportunities to assist the many people affected are constantly challenged by the ever-deteriorating security situation.

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