12 December 2013
The British Red Cross is contributing £100,000 towards alleviating the humanitarian crisis in Central African Republic (CAR).
CAR has descended into turmoil as armed factions carry out coordinated attacks against each other and civilians.
Rebel forces ousted the president in March and violence erupted last week following months of tension between Muslims and Christians.
An estimated 533,000 people have been forced to leave their homes due to the conflict while more than 450 people were killed during three days of fighting between 5 and 7 December.
France deployed 1,600 soldiers to CAR last week in a UN-backed mission. They are working alongside African soldiers to protect civilians and restore stability.
The financial pledge from the British Red Cross will help people withstand and recover from the effects of the conflict.
The current conflict has compounded an already fragile humanitarian situation – roughly 10 per cent of the population were already displaced.
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and Central African Republic Red Cross (CARRC) are working to help people caught up in the fighting.
There are an estimated 112,000 displaced people within the capital Bangui alone, while the UN has said 1.3 million people – more than a quarter of CAR’s population – are in urgent need of food.
There is also an urgent need for water and sanitation, shelter, health care and medical supplies.
Relief workers are administering first aid, transporting the wounded, recovering bodies, distributing food and providing medical and surgical supplies to community hospitals.
The British Red Cross’ contribution of £100,000 to the ICRC will help aid workers respond to the changing needs of people affected by the conflict.
The decision to make the pledge took into account the number of people affected by the unrest, the number of people displaced and the pre-existing humanitarian conditions in CAR.
Ben Webster, British Red Cross disaster response programme manager said: “The crisis in CAR has been growing in recent months and erupted into brutal violence last week.
“It is a comparatively neglected crisis and one that has left the population living in fear.
“Our pledge will enable our Red Cross colleagues to provide vital aid to people who have been caught up in the fighting.
“It is essential that aid workers are given safe access to help the injured and the sick.”
The £100,000 has been drawn from the British Red Cross’ disaster fund. Money from the fund is used in the immediate aftermath of a disaster or in a conflict anywhere in the world.
The British Red Cross previously made a disaster fund pledge of £125,000 to the ICRC appeal for CAR in May, of which £35,000 went towards mosquito nets for CAR refugees who had fled to the Democratic Republic of Congo.