Norway will give NOK 60 million (USD 9.8 million) for emergency humanitarian aid efforts in the war-town Central African Republic (CAR). The United Nations (UN) said peacekeeping forces have been powerless to stop large-scale ethnic cleansing in the country, and that the situation has reached a “level three” emergency, the highest classification.
“This means half of the population needs help,” Foreign Minister Børge Brende told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) on Thursday. “Therefore Norway is allocating NOK 60 million for emergency humanitarian aid.”
Amnesty International estimated as many as 100,000 Muslims have been forced to flee the former French colony, which is also crippled by a serious food shortage, extreme lack of infrastructure and weak central government. “In addition to that people lack water, food and medicine so it’s extremely difficult to get aid into the country,” said Brende.
He hoped the large donation would turn the media spotlight on the stricken country, where humanitarian groups were struggling to attract desperately needed aid money. The World Food Program is using charter planes to get rice and supplies into the capital, Bangui. Of the amount the group estimates it needs to support 1.25 million people until August, it has received only 27 percent. The UN reported it has received only 13 percent of the resources it needs.
Meanwhile, Amnesty International and the UN warned the ethnic cleansing of Muslims in the western part of the country is worsening, bordering on genocide. The European Union promised NOK 1 billion towards the crisis, and has approved deployment of 500 extra soldiers. The troops will join the 5,500-strong African Union forces and the 1,600 French soldiers in the CAR.