UN calls for urgent humanitarian funding and protection of civilians in the Central African Republic
Bangui, 4 September 2019 – United Nations Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator Ursula Mueller today called for urgent additional funding to meet the humanitarian needs of 2.9 million people in the Central African Republic (CAR).
“I have witnessed the level of suffering among people affected by this complex emergency,” Ms. Mueller said in Bangui after a week-long mission to the CAR. “The humanitarian situation in this country continues to deteriorate. Most displaced people have been forced to flee multiple times and are unable to return home due to continued insecurity and lack of essential services. Spikes of violence in areas of the country that were not previously affected by the conflict are creating new displacement and humanitarian needs.”
This year, the number of people in the CAR who need humanitarian assistance and protection has increased from 2.5 million to 2.9 million. Two-thirds of the population depends on aid to survive; more than 70 per cent of the population has no access to safe drinking water. Some 1.8 million people in the country are food insecure.
During her mission, the Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator visited Bria in eastern CAR as well as Alindao and Bangassou in the south-east. In some areas, she noted increased freedom of movement and humanitarian access, creating new hope for civilians. “People I met called for more access to essential services such as water, health and education. At this critical time, development actors need to increase their programming, while humanitarians will have to continue to provide lifesaving assistance.”
Ms. Mueller heard from dozens of crisis-affected women about their many challenges and the risks they face. “I was appalled and shaken by testimonies from women and girls who are affected by gender-based violence (GBV). They urgently need protection, and survivors need access to medical and psychosocial support,” she said. On average, an alleged GBV incident is reported every 60 minutes in the Central African Republic, and 92 per cent of victims are women and girls.
The Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator also met humanitarian actors who are providing life-saving assistance to over 750,000 people every month. However, the CAR is one of the most dangerous countries in the world for humanitarians to operate in. So far this year, 3 humanitarian workers have been killed and 26 have been injured.
During her visit, Ms. Mueller stressed the critical importance of protecting civilians. “I appeal to all parties to abide by their obligations under International Humanitarian Law and to cease all acts of violence against civilians and humanitarian personnel and assets. This is a message I delivered throughout my mission, including in meetings with representatives of armed groups,” the Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator said. “Victims and survivors, including of sexual violence, must receive justice and impunity must end for this society to heal.”
While the conflict continues, humanitarian assistance remains a lifeline for many affected communities. “I thank donors for their generous contributions thus far but much more needs to be done,” said Ms. Mueller. “Existing donors need to scale up funding for the humanitarian response, and we need additional donors to support these efforts.” The 2019 CAR Humanitarian Response Plan requires US$430.7 million but is less than 50 per cent funded.
“Without additional funding, humanitarians will not be able to sustain and scale up the ongoing response,” Ms. Mueller said. “The people of this country need our help now and we cannot fail them.”
For further information, please contact:
In Bangui: Laura Fultang, OCHA CAR, +236 70 18 80 64, firstname.lastname@example.org
In New York: Russell Geekie, +1 212 963 8340, email@example.com
In Geneva: Jens Laerke, +41 79 472 9750, firstname.lastname@example.org. OCHA press releases are available at www.unocha.org or www.reliefweb.int