Minister Oda announces Canada’s response to the humanitarian crisis in East Africa

July 22, 2011

The Honourable Beverley J. Oda, Minister of International Cooperation, announced today that Canada will respond to help the victims of the severe drought now affecting approximately 11 million people in East Africa. Canada will increase its financial support and establish the East Africa Drought Relief Fund.

"Today, I saw a true humanitarian crisis at Dadaab. The stories of how the women and children struggled to reach the camp are incredible," said Minister Oda. "Their perseverance and courage must be matched by our willingness to help. Canada remains gravely concerned by this humanitarian crisis. Our commitment today will help bring relief to those affected, particularly for the women and children who are the most vulnerable."

The Government of Canada is responding to this crisis by increasing Canada's financial support to humanitarian organizations in the region and establishing the East Africa Drought Relief Fund in recognition of the compassion and generosity of individual Canadians.

"Canadians have a history of generosity and willingness to help those in need, and our Government has a strong record of support for Africa," continued Minister Oda. "In response to this crisis, I am proud that the government is establishing the East Africa Drought Relief Fund, which will be used to benefit those affected by the drought."

Canada, through the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), is increasing its financial contribution by $50 million today. This is in addition to the $22.35 million provided by CIDA earlier this year for humanitarian assistance in the region.

For every dollar an individual Canadian donates over a 10-week period (retroactive to July 6, 2011, and ending September 16, 2011) to an eligible registered Canadian charity responding to the drought in East Africa, the Government will contribute an equivalent amount to the East Africa Drought Relief Fund. The Government of Canada will administer the relief fund separately, disbursing funds to organizations best suited to make an effective and real difference in the lives of people affected by the drought.

Without any significant rainfall for over two years, people in the region are experiencing crop failure, loss of livestock and acute malnutrition, resulting in the migration of hundreds of thousands of people. This has led to a humanitarian crisis, which many experts forecast will extend into the next year. The United Nations upgraded the level of humanitarian emergency in parts of Somalia, officially recognizing the crisis as a famine.

Minister Oda visited the Dadaab refugee camps in Kenya, the largest in the region, to review first-hand the humanitarian crisis and the work and needs of humanitarian partners on the ground.


The World Food Programme will receive $25 million of the new money to provide emergency food assistance to those people most in need. Canada will also provide $25 million to other UN agencies, and various NGOs to provide nutrition, water and sanitation, and other non-food aid.

For more information on Canada's response to the East Africa drought and for further details on the East Africa Drought Relief Fund, please visit CIDA's website.

 

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Information:

Justin Broekema
Press Secretary to the Minister of International Cooperation
Telephone: 819-953-6238
Email: justin.broekema@acdi-cida.gc.ca

Media Relations Office
Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)
Telephone: 819-953-6534
Email: media@acdi-cida.gc.ca


Backgrounder

Minister Oda announces Canada's response to the humanitarian crisis in East Africa


The Government of Canada, through CIDA, has announced increased support for relief efforts to assist the people victimized by the drought in East Africa. Today's announcement outlines Canada's increased financial support to key humanitarian organizations and the establishment of the East Africa Drought Relief Fund to recognize the compassion and generosity of individual Canadians. 

Successive seasons of failed rains, combined with increasing food prices, conflict and limited humanitarian access, resulted in a humanitarian crisis affecting millions of people in East Africa. 

The Government of Canada, through CIDA, announced $50 million to support relief efforts for those affected by the drought in East Africa, adding to the $22.35 million provided earlier this year for humanitarian assistance in Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia.

Today's funding announcement will ensure the provision of humanitarian assistance, including emergency food, nutritional support, water, sanitation and shelter, to those affected by the drought. 

This funding will support:

  • Emergency food assistance in East Africa through the United Nations' World Food Programme (WFP)
  • Targeted non-food humanitarian interventions, such as nutrition, water and sanitation, protection, coordination, logistics, and security for humanitarian workers, for drought-affected populations through partners such as the United Nations agencies and non-governmental organizations
  • Operational support for refugee camps in Ethiopia and Kenya to meet the basic needs of Somali refugees


East Africa Drought Relief Fund

Through the East Africa Drought Relief Fund, the Government of Canada will complement the generosity of Canadians.

For every dollar Canadians contribute to registered Canadian charities responding to the East Africa drought, from July 6 until September 16, 2011, the Government of Canada will set aside one dollar for the Fund. 

The Fund will provide effective and accountable financial support to experienced Canadian and international humanitarian organizations working in the affected areas of East Africa. CIDA will allocate these funds to established Canadian and international humanitarian organizations to ensure an effective and timely response.

Donating and fundraising criteria:

  • For every dollar Canadians contribute to registered Canadian charities responding to the East Africa drought, the Government of Canada will set aside one dollar for the East Africa Drought Relief Fund.
  • There is no limit on the amount of funds that are available through this Government of Canada program.
  • To be counted for this purpose, donations must comply with various conditions, which can be found on CIDA's website.
  • Donations must be made before September 16, 2011, to ensure CIDA's contribution to the relief fund can be mobilized quickly to respond to immediate needs in East Africa.
  • Charities that raise funds eligible for the East Africa Drought Relief Fund will not receive an equivalent amount from the Government of Canada. For each eligible dollar raised, the Government of Canada will set aside an equivalent dollar for the East Africa Drought Relief Fund, administered separately by CIDA.


Results achieved with CIDA's previous $22.35-million humanitarian assistance 

Today's funding announcement will build on the results already achieved by Canada's contribution to global efforts to combat the effects of the East African drought.

So far in 2011, as part of its response to annual United Nations and other appeals and as regular food assistance allocations, CIDA provided a total of $22.35 million for its humanitarian response in East Africa.

Country

Food Aid (CAD)

Non-Food  Aid (CAD)

Total (CAD)

Djibouti

1,500,000

0

1,500,000

Ethiopia

3,000,000

2,000,000

5,000,000

Kenya

6,100,000

3,000,000

9,100,000

Somalia

2,000,000

4,750,000

6,750,000

Totals

12,600,000

9,750,000

22,350,000

  • With Canada's assistance and support provided by other donors, WFP is helping 6.4 million beneficiaries in Kenya, Somalia, Ethiopia and Djibouti affected by the drought, including nearly 650,000 refugees in Kenya and Ethiopia.
  • WFP has been preparing for this drought cycle and scaling up through the past six months. With CIDA's support to WFP's Immediate Response Account ($10 million in 2010-2011) and Forward Purchase Facility ($10 million in 2010-2011), the WFP was able to pre-position 400 metric tonnes of food in the Horn of Africa region in the spring. WFP's executive director thanked donors such as Canada for being supportive of preparations for this emergency after its onset was flagged to WFP back in February. (Source: World Food Programme.)
  • Canadian support to UNHCR, the United Nations refugee agency, ($2.3 million) has helped to provide ongoing services such as medical support, water and sanitation, and shelter to the more than 300,000 Somali refugees who resided in Dadaab, Kenya, at the outset of 2011, as well as to the tens of thousands who have arrived since January.
  • Canadian support to Oxfam Canada's operations in Somalia ($3.15 million) is helping to provide life-saving water and sanitation services to more than 400,000 internally displaced persons living in the Afgooye corridor outside of Mogadishu..
  • Canadian support to World Vision's operations in Puntland ($1.2 million in north central Somalia) is helping to provide water, sanitation, and medical support to 145,000 internally displaced persons who have fled insecurity in the south.
  • Canadian support to the UN Humanitarian Air Service in Somalia ($400,000) is helping to provide humanitarian workers with safe and reliable access to beneficiary populations in Somalia.
  • Canadian support to Oxfam Canada ($1 million) is helping to provide access to safe drinking water and sanitation for almost 14,000 drought-affected households in the Somali region of Ethiopia.
  • Canadian support to Médecins Sans Frontières in the Ogaden region of Ethiopia ($1 million) is helping to provide access to emergency medical support for 600,000 conflict- and drought-affected people living in the project area.
  • Canadian support to Oxfam Canada in Kenya ($700,000) is helping to provide access to water and sanitation services to Kenyan host communities (10,000 households) affected by drought and the environmental effects of hosting a large Somali refugee population.