World Bank to raise $100 mn for Central African Republic

The World Bank announced Thursday it was mobilizing $100 million for the Central African Republic, hours after the country's new interim president took office facing a massive humanitarian crisis.

The Bank said the funds will help restore key government services and provide food, healthcare and crucial supplies in the wake of sectarian violence that has displaced more than 25 percent of the population.

"The people of the Central African Republic are facing one of their most profound tragedies in recent memory, which requires urgent support from the international community," said Makhtar Diop, the Bank's vice president for Africa.

"We are moving quickly to mobilize US$100 million to help reestablish key government services and get people the life-saving supplies they need to survive this ordeal and resume their lives.

"We pledge to stand shoulder to shoulder with the people of CAR in their time of need, and beyond," he said.

The announcement came after Catherine Samba Panza took office as the troubled country's interim president, tasked with halting the inter-religious violence and restarting the economy.

Thousands have been killed in the fighting that erupted nearly one year ago between the mainly Muslim rebel Seleka group and Christians.

The United Nations says some 2.2 million people are desperately in need of assistance.

The Bank said the funds would be released this year but "only in line with a steadily improving peace and security situation in the country."

But it added that it would "move quickly" together with partners and civil society groups to set up emergency health services and public works operations to prevent disease outbreak among the displaced people.