‘Despite the difficult security situation in the Central African Republic, humanitarian actors are making impressive efforts to save lives and help the civilian population. Norway is providing an additional NOK 50 million to strengthen humanitarian efforts in the country,’ said Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende.
At a meeting in Oslo today, Mr Brende discussed the serious crisis in the country with President of the Central African Republic Catherine Samba-Panza. The UN and various aid organisations have only received 34 % of the approximately NOK 3.4 billion they need to finance the emergency relief efforts.
‘It is crucial that the international community gives more attention to the country and does what it can to ensure that the civilian population receives protection and access to humanitarian assistance. Close to one fifth of the population of 4.6 million have fled their homes. Over half of the country’s inhabitants are in acute need of food, health services, clean water and shelter, both in the capital Bangui and in rural areas,’ Mr Brende said.
National institutions in the Central African Republic, whether in the field of health, education or justice, have in practice ceased to function. There is an urgent need to implement measures to protect children and other vulnerable groups.
‘We are therfore providing additional funding to protect and assist the civilian population. We are now giving priority to education projects for children affected by the crisis, and to humanitarian efforts that also promote social cohesion and lay the groundwork for future reconciliation processes,’ Mr Brende said.
This additional humanitarian funding will support the work of the Norwegian Refugee Council, the Caritas network, UN organisations and the International Committee of the Red Cross. Norway is already supporting the work of the World Food Programme (WFP) and Médecins Sans Frontières, as well as providing funding through the common humanitarian funds. Norway will provide a total of NOK 110 million in humanitarian support to the Central African Republic in 2014.
Since the coup in March 2013, the Central African Republic has seen widespread violence, armed conflict and mass killings. The violence escalated dramatically in December last year. The root causes of the conflict are complex, and are linked to the struggle for power and resources, and to ethnic, national and religious affiliations. The crisis over the past year has intensified and exacerbated an already very difficult situation in a country where the average life expectancy is 50 years and where only half of the adult population can read and write.