16 December 2013
For further information contact:
Anna MacSwan 0207 877 7519 / AMacSwan@redcross.org.uk
On call mobile: 0771 0391703
The British Red Cross is contributing £100,000 towards alleviating the humanitarian crisis in Central African Republic (CAR).
More than 450 people were killed during renewed fighting in Bangui between December 5 and 7 and an estimated 533,000 people have now been forced to flee their homes.
Fighting between armed factions since the country’s president was ousted in March has compounded an already fragile humanitarian situation in a country which already has some of the world’s worst statistics for health. Even prior to the coup, 1 in 10 children in CAR did not live to see their fifth birthday.
Patrick L'Hote, Head of Operations for the ICRC in Central and Southern Africa said:
"There are very few situations which compare with the situation in the Central African Republic. It's a country where people live with no safety net - and as soon as something goes wrong they go from nothing to less than nothing. The Red Cross is trying to provide them with the few things that will make their lives easier to resume."
Many of those who have been displaced do not have access to food, clean water or healthcare. The UN has said that 1.3 million people – more than a quarter of CAR’s population – are in urgent need of food.
The British Red Cross has pledged £100,000 to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to support its relief efforts on the ground, which include running two mobile clinics in Kaga Bandoro and providing food rations to 35,000 people.
The £100,000 has been drawn from the British Red Cross’ disaster fund [http://www.redcross.org.uk/Donate-Now/Make-a-single-donation/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 in May to support relief efforts in CAR and provide mosquito nets for Central African refugees in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
The Red Cross is also helping to transport the wounded to hospital, recover bodies, reunite families, and provide toilets and clean water.
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. We are concerned both about those who have been directly affected by the fighting, and those who have fled their homes as a result and left extremely vulnerable.
“Our pledge will enable our Red Cross colleagues to provide desperately needed aid to people who have been affected by the fighting.
“It is essential that aid workers are given safe access to help the injured and the sick.”
For further information or spokespeople please contact:
Anna MacSwan (firstname.lastname@example.org, +44 207 877 7519)
Notes to editors
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The British Red Cross helps people in crisis, whoever and wherever they are. We are part of a global voluntary network, responding to conflicts, natural disasters and individual emergencies. We enable vulnerable people in the UK and abroad to prepare for and withstand emergencies in their own communities. And when the crisis is over, we help them to recover and move on with their lives.