Since the December 2020 presidential elections, the Central African Republic (CAR) is torn by violence opposing armed groups against government forces. As of spring 2022, the situation remains extremely volatile, as serious human rights violations are committed by all parties.
While some areas are conducive to development initiatives, almost no region is spared by the violence. Prospects for the resumption of basic public services and income opportunities are slim. Many Central Africans still depend on humanitarian assistance for their basic survival.
What are the needs?
In 2022, 3.1 million people (60% of the population) require humanitarian assistance. The population is constantly exposed to, and displaced by violence by all parties to the conflict.
The protection of vulnerable internally displaced people (IDPs) is urgently needed. It particularly important for women and girls, who increasingly exposed to sexual violence, and unaccompanied or separated children at risk of forced recruitment. Psychological trauma is on the rise, while only 3% of health structures offer mental health care.
The government regaining control of most provincial urban centres favoured the return of an estimated 632,000 IDPs, as of March 2022. However, 740,000 Central African refugees remain in neighbouring countries, especially Cameroon.
The impact of COVID-19 adds to instability, further deteriorating food insecurity and acute malnutrition. In August 2021, the World Food Programme estimated that 2.1 million people were in situation of acute food insecurity.
Primary health care, water and sanitation, and shelter remain among the most urgent needs. In 2021, only 34% of children aged 4 to 6 received any form of formal education, with a quarter of the country’s schools closed or destroyed.
The CAR also remains one of the most dangerous countries for humanitarian workers, with over 400 incidents recorded in 2021.
How are we helping?
Over the past years, the EU and its Member States have been the second largest donor of humanitarian assistance in the CAR having provided more than €1.4 million in funding since 2014.
In 2022, the EU is allocating €17 million in humanitarian aid, including €3.6 million earmarked for education in emergencies programmes and €1 million for disaster preparedness actions
Besides education, EU humanitarian aid primarily focuses on covering the needs of the most vulnerable – uprooted people in the CAR and host communities – by providing them:
- food assistance
- emergency shelter
- access to healthcare
- water and sanitation
- short-term livelihood and agricultural support
In addition, the EU supports actions that protect civilians. This includes the prevention of sexual violence, support to victims, and actions offering a protective and educational environment for children.
Some EU-funded projects are also helping to respond to the health crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic by providing access to clean water and sanitation for vulnerable people.
With widespread violence and poor infrastructure, reaching people in need in the CAR is both difficult and dangerous. In this context, the EU funds the UN Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS) that enables aid workers and assistance to reach places that are insecure and difficult to access. EU humanitarian funding also supports the security and coordination of humanitarian aid in the country.
The crisis in the CAR has an impact on its neighbouring countries. About 740,000 Central African refugees are being hosted mainly in Cameroon, Chad, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Their prolonged stay puts pressure on the local host communities and their already limited resources. The EU delivers humanitarian assistance to both host communities and Central African refugees in Cameroon, Chad, and the DRC.
In addition, the European Commission is providing €100 million in humanitarian assistance to support the rollout of vaccination campaigns in countries in Africa with critical humanitarian needs and fragile health systems. At least €10 million of this funding will be supporting vaccination campaigns for the most vulnerable in West and Central Africa.
Last updated: 21/03/2022
Picture: © Pablo Tosco / Oxfam Intermón
Facts & figures
3.1 million people in the CAR require humanitarian aid (OCHA, Global Humanitarian Overview 2022)
More than 735,000 Central Africans have taken refuge in neighbouring countries (UNHCR, Feb. 2022), and 632,000 people are internally displaced (OCHA, CMP, Feb. 2022)
2.3 million people will face acute food insecurity in 2022 (IPC, September 2021)
EU humanitarian funding:
€17 million in 2022
More than €233 million since 2014