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Ahead of an international donor meeting in Brussels on Thursday, Oxfam warns that the people of Central African Republic cannot face another year of the present dire situation which has left half of the 4.8 million population in need of humanitarian assistance. The UN appeal fund is still only 32% funded as we near the end of this year. One of the poorest countries in the world, the people are in extreme need: two million people are struggling to find enough to eat; 65% of the population lacks access to safe drinking water; more than 800,000 people have been forced from their homes, either internally displaced within the country or driven into neighboring countries - all of them having to start new lives from nothing.
Women have been particularly affected by the conflict: last year an estimated 60,000 women experienced violence, meaning that one woman was raped or abused every 15 minutes.
Ferran Puig, Oxfam's Central African Republic Country Director, said: “Despite peaceful presidential and legislative elections earlier this year, a large part of the territory remains under the control of armed groups which continue to perpetrate violence against civilians. Recently, a new wave of violence in the capital, Bangui, and in the north of the country has rapidly aggravated the security situation - 37 people were killed in October in an attack on a camp for displaced people in Kaga Bandoro, 300 Km from Bangui.
"Over the last 5 years, four donor meetings held in Brussels have simply resulted in unmet pledges leaving the country to relapse into new crises. As well as a bigger humanitarian response, we need to see peace building and development work that can take a longer term approach for the rebuilding of the country. Donors need to provide the necessary funds immediately.”
Oxfam says Thursday's donor meeting has the potential to be an important step in restoring peace and security, and reviving the economy, but that donors need to show both a long term commitment and provide flexible funding. The organization has been working in CAR since 2014 with projects on food security, livelihoods, protection and gender, water, sanitation and hygiene in the capital, Bangui, and in Bria, Paoua and Batangafo, reaching more than 300.000 people.
Notes to editors
1. Oxfam spokespeople are available in Brussels: Oxfam's Advocacy Manager in the Central African Republic, Isidore Ngueuleu, for interviews in English and French, and Oxfam's Country Director in the Central African Republic, Ferran Puig, for interviews in Spanish.
2. Between 2011 and 2016, four donor conferences were organized in support of CAR and none of them have mobilized enough backing to meet the needs identified by humanitarian and development actors.
3. Donors have pledged a total of US $400 million in 2011 to fund the second plan for the reduction of poverty from 2011 to 2015 but because of the conflict in 2012 the fund has not been disbursed (http://centrafrique-presse.over-blog.com/article-table-ronde-de-bruxelles-ngouandjika-convertit-l-humiliation-en-promesse-de-400-milliards-de-f-cf-77136132.html) This plan was replaced by the National Program for Sustainable Recovery 2013-2015, which was not funded (cf. http://info-centrafrique.over-blog.com/du-dsrp-ii-au-pnrd-.-pour-quel-r%C3%89sultat). In 2015 only 53% of the $613 million required for humanitarian based plan was funded (https://fts.unocha.org/pageloader.aspx?page=emerg-emergencyDetails&appealID=1071), and in 2014 of the $548 million necessary, only 58% was covered.
4. In 2007, the announcements made by development partners at a round table held in Brussels also resulted in lower commitments than expectated, with only 26% of commitments were honored.
5. European Union, United Nations, USAID and French Development Agency are the only development donors present in the country. While only ECHO and the UN Emergency Funds instruments (CHF, CERF) are permanent donors in CAR. Other humanitarian donors like Germany, UK, Ireland, Canada, Italy, Belgium or Switzerland support the country from abroad.