Minister Oda updates on East Africa humanitarian crisis

October 21, 2011

Yesterday, the Honourable Beverley J. Oda, Minister of International Cooperation, provided an update on the serious humanitarian crisis in the Horn of Africa and announced the final tally of donations provided by individual Canadians to Canadian registered charities eligible to be matched by the Government of Canada through its East Africa Drought Relief Fund.

The crisis in eastern Africa is requiring the continued efforts of the international community in meeting the needs of the more than 13 million people affected by the crisis across the region.

Canadians have generously donated $70,421,608.55 to Canadian registered charities working in the drought affected areas. The Government of Canada will match the amount raised, providing further humanitarian assistance in the region.

The heart of the crisis is located in southern Somalia, a region under the control of the terrorist group Al-Shabaab and beset by famine and conflict.

Canada is providing much needed assistance by working with our trusted partners, including the World Food Programme, UNICEF, CARE Canada, UNHCR and Oxfam Canada, ensuring our help reaches those in need. We are continually monitoring the situation as part of the international response.

"The humanitarian crisis in Eastern Africa continues to face many challenges that are seriously hampering the international effort to assist those affected by the drought, severe malnutrition and conflict," said Minister Oda. "I am very concerned that the security of humanitarian workers in the border area and south-east Somalia continues to be threatened and that the support for the tens of thousands who are facing hunger, malnutrition and disease is being impacted. Canada will continue to provide needed assistance to those who have already suffered so much, while respecting our responsibilities to the humanitarian organizations and their aid workers in the area."

In response to the worst drought in over 60 years, the Government of Canada, through CIDA, has already provided $72.35 million to support relief efforts in Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia and Djibouti through experienced partners providing food, water, sanitation, medical support and shelter to communities affected by the drought, including refugees and internally displaced persons.

"During my visit to the region, I witnessed the courage and determination of those struggling to survive the effects of the drought," Minister Oda said. "The Government of Canada is proud of the compassion demonstrated by Canadians in responding so generously to this ongoing crisis, and they can be confident that their generous donations are making a difference in the lives of the most vulnerable people."

Allocations from the East Africa Drought Relief Fund will support ongoing humanitarian assistance through projects undertaken by experienced Canadian and international humanitarian organizations responding to the drought.

On October 5 in Montréal, during the McGill Food Security Conference, Minister Oda announced the preliminary tally of donations by Canadians. Today's announcement provides the final tally of donations for the drought in eastern Africa. The Government of Canada will allocate an equivalent amount to its East Africa Drought Relief Fund.

To date, the Government of Canada, through CIDA, has allocated $142.75 million to respond to the drought. This amount is a combination of $72.35 million in funding already provided in 2011 plus the $70.4 million allocated to the East Africa Drought Relief Fund.

For more information on Canada's response to the drought in East Africa, please visit CIDA's Humanitarian Crisis in East Africa page.

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

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

Backgrounder

Canada's Response to the Humanitarian Crisis in East Africa

The ongoing humanitarian crisis in eastern Africa is having a devastating impact on approximately 13.3 million people throughout Somalia, Ethiopia, Kenya and Djibouti. People are facing food insecurity and extreme malnutrition due to crop failures, loss of livestock, and the devastation of livelihoods by the drought. Kenya has seen approximately 460,000 people inhabit their refugee camps, while approximately 246,000 people are living in refugee camps in Ethiopia and close to 20,000 people are living in Djibouti refugee camps.

The heart of the crisis, in south Somalia, remains a volatile region, with all efforts being made to address security challenges faced by on-the-ground humanitarian organizations. Recently, the targeting of humanitarian workers has resulted in the restriction of their travel throughout the region, as well as limiting humanitarian assistance to only essential relief items of food, water and critical healthcare.

To date, the Government of Canada, through CIDA, has allocated $142.75 million to respond to the drought. This amount is a combination of $72.35 million in funding already provided in 2011 plus approximately $70.4 million allocated to the East Africa Drought Relief Fund, as announced by Minister Oda on October 20, 2011, for the over 13 million people who are affected by the ongoing drought in Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia and Djibouti.

These CIDA contributions help the United Nations and non-governmental organizations working in the region to meet emergency needs of those requiring humanitarian assistance, including food, water, sanitation, health care and other non-food assistance.

Canada's contribution to the international effort has helped provide11.5 million people in Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia with emergency food aid, addressed the immediate water needs of over a million people and supported 140,000 malnourished children and pregnant women.

The following organizations have received funding as a result of Canada's $50-million announcement on July 22, which supplemented the $22.35 million provided by CIDA earlier in 2011:

East Africa Drought Relief Fund

In recognition of the generosity of Canadians, the Government of Canada established the East Africa Drought Relief Fund.

The total donated by individual Canadians to Canadian registered charities responding to the drought in eastern Africa, from July 6 to September 16, 2011, that is eligible to be matched is $70,421,608.55 million. The Government of Canada has contributed an equivalent amount to the East Africa Drought Relief Fund. The money will be allocated by CIDA to established Canadian and international humanitarian organizations providing humanitarian assistance to the millions of people in eastern Africa affected by the humanitarian crisis.

For more information on Canada's response to the drought in eastern Africa, please visit CIDA's Humanitarian Crisis in East Africa page.

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