Canada providing humanitarian assistance to the people of the Central African Republic

July 12, 2013 - OTTAWA— More than 4.6 million people in the Central African Republic are in need of humanitarian assistance due to violent conflict and political instability, which has resulted in a worsening humanitarian situation. Today, the Honourable Julian Fantino, Minister of International Development, announced life-saving assistance for the people of the Central African Republic.

“The recent conflict and political turmoil in the Central African Republic has caused widespread destruction of property, the breakdown of social services, human rights violations, and significant population displacement, compounding the already precarious humanitarian situation in the country,” said Minister Fantino. “Canada is providing water, food, basic health care, and protection to conflict-affected and displaced people during this difficult time in the Central African Republic.”

The entire country—more than 4.6 million people – has been affected by the widespread violence over the past seven months. More than 3.2 million people are living without basic access to health care. Since December, at least 206,000 people have become internally displaced, and at least 1.2 million people have been cut off from basic services for more than four months. Countless communities, whose homes, livestock, and possessions have been looted or destroyed, are now facing significantly increased risk of contracting water-borne diseases and malaria in the rainy season, which began in May. Reported levels of malnutrition and food insecurity in the country are concerning. Access to many affected communities is constrained, challenging the humanitarian response. Canada’s assistance will also support air services for humanitarian agencies working in inaccessible areas of the country.

“The conflict has a devastating effect on the population, half of whom are children who suffer disproportionately from the effects of violence,” said Souleymane Diabaté, UNICEF representative in the Central African Republic. “The funds from Canada could not have arrived at a better time as humanitarian access is increasing. UNICEF will immediately use these funds to provide live-saving supplies and emergency health, nutrition, protection, and water and sanitation support to women and children throughout the country.

“The African Diaspora Association of Canada greatly appreciates Canada’s efforts to provide assistance to the people of the Central African Republic during this difficult time,” said Kalifa Goita, president of the African Diaspora Association of Canada. “This assistance is in line with Canada’s tradition and values of humanitarianism, protection of human rights, and development. We welcome this critical support as a major contribution to the well-being of the people of the Central African Republic in a time of great need.”

Canada provides humanitarian assistance to the most vulnerable people facing food insecurity and conflict. Economic Action Plan 2013 affirms Canada's commitment to providing humanitarian assistance through the new Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development. The new department maintains the mandate of poverty alleviation and humanitarian assistance. The amalgamation will help the Government of Canada achieve greater efficiency, accountability, and focus to continue to improve the lives of people in need around the world.

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For more information, media should contact:

Daniel Bezalel Richardsen
Press Secretary to the Minister of International Development
Telephone: 819-953-6238
Email: danielbezalel.richardsen@acdi-cida.gc.ca 

Media Relations Office
Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFATD)
Telephone: 613-995-1874
Email: media@international.gc.ca
Follow us on Twitter: @DFATDCanada

Backgrounder

Each year, Canada responds to appeals issued by international and Canadian humanitarian organizations. These appeals outline the planned response to a variety of humanitarian crises due to conflict or food insecurity around the world. Such crises affect huge numbers of people, cause extensive human suffering, and are extremely difficult to resolve.

In response to the 2013 appeals for the Central African Republic, Canada is providing $6.2 million in humanitarian assistance as follows:

Doctors Without Borders – $1.5 million

Canada’s support will help improve access to basic health services for up to 172,000 people in Ouham province through the provision of

  • emergency health care, and
  • support to epidemiological surveillance to monitor and control disease outbreaks.

(UNICEF – $1 million

Canada’s support will help address the emergency needs of children and other vulnerable groups through the provision of

  • basic health services and medicines for up to 582,000 people;
  • safe water for as many as 100,000 children and women;
  • immunization and vitamin A supplements for more than 680,000 children to prevent a measles outbreak;
  • nutritional support for as many as 13,500 children under the age of five suffering from severe acute malnutrition; and
  • psychosocial care for survivors of sexual and gender-based violence.

World Food Programme – $1 million

Canada’s support will contribute to the provision of food and nutrition assistance to more than 258,000 persons affected by conflict in the Central African Republic through

  • general food distributions,
  • cash/voucher activities, and
  • supplementary feeding for children under five as well as for pregnant and lactating women.

World Food Programme/United Nations Humanitarian Air Service – $700,000

Canada’s support will help ensure humanitarian efforts reach beneficiaries through the provision of

  • safe and reliable air service for humanitarian organizations and donor agencies to reach parts of the country that are too dangerous or too remote to access by road; and
  • timely medical and security evacuations for humanitarian workers in remote locations.

Other humanitarian partners – $2 million

Canada’s support will help improve the protection, food security, water and sanitation, as well as basic health needs of more than 250,000 people living in the country’s conflict-affected and insecure areas through the provision of

  • medical kits and other supplies to health centres to provide basic and emergency health care;
  • food rations;
  • seeds and tools in conflict areas to support the resumption of livelihoods; and
  • technical assistance in the repair and protection of water points and sanitation facilities.