(Alexandria, VA) Feb. 26, 2014—Islamic Relief USA launched an emergency appeal today to provide humanitarian aid to those affected by the ongoing civil unrest in the Central African Republic.

Since December 2013, the Central African Republic has witnessed increasing violence that has killed tens of thousands of people, including hundreds of children, and has left half of the country’s population of 4.6 million in urgent need of humanitarian assistance, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA). Nearly 700,000 have been displaced inside the country, and more than a quarter million have fled the country’s borders in what U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki Moon has called “a crisis of epic proportions.”

“We are deeply concerned for the population as they deal with increased cycles of violence and a lack of basic humanitarian assistance,” said Anwar Khan, chief operating officer of Islamic Relief USA. “Our teams around the world are working hard to send humanitarian assistance to all those affected.

“We pray that they reach a state of peace, stability, and reconciliation as soon as possible.”

Even before the violence erupted, the country had long been suffering from harsh conditions. Central African Republic is ranked 179th of 187 countries for poverty, according to UNOCHA in January. The new crisis has left many people unable to meet their basic needs. UNOCHA reported in January that some 90% of the population were living on just one meal a day because food was not available for purchase.

Children make up half of the country’s population and are particularly vulnerable in the midst of the conflict. According to the latest reports by UNOCHA, more than 2.5 million children are affected. Child protection, basic shelter, food and clean water remain key needs.

IRUSA has been providing emergency humanitarian relief for over 20 years. Here is more information about IRUSA’s Central African Republic assistance efforts.

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Islamic Relief USA, based in Alexandria, Va., is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) humanitarian organization. Its mission is to alleviate suffering, hunger, illiteracy and disease regardless of color, race, gender or creed, and to provide aid in a compassionate and dignified manner. Islamic Relief USA aims to provide rapid relief in the event of human and natural disasters and to establish sustainable local development projects, allowing communities to better help themselves. Its programs benefit millions of people each year around the world, including in the United States.

Islamic Relief USA meets all of the Standards for Charity Accountability of the BBB Wise Giving Alliance, a national charity monitoring group affiliated with the Better Business Bureau system. Islamic Relief USA is on the U.S. government’s Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) charity list, and it is also a signatory to the code of conduct of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

MEDIA CONTACT:
Michelle Strucke
mstrucke@irusa.org

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