Canada helps millions affected by drought in Eastern Africa

December 20, 2011

Today, the Honourable Beverley J. Oda, Minister of International Cooperation, announced how Canada will be providing continued aid to those affected by the ongoing crisis in eastern Africa through the East Africa Drought Relief Fund.

In October, the Minister reported on the generosity of Canadian donations to help those suffering in eastern Africa. To fulfil its commitment, the government is providing support, through the East Africa Drought Relief Fund, to 14 organizations that are working on the ground to help those most in need.

"Although worldwide media has moved on, the plight of the people in eastern Africa remains precarious, and the need for humanitarian assistance persists," said Minister Oda. "I am proud that Canadians have demonstrated their compassion and have not abandoned those who are facing extreme hunger, acute malnutrition, disease, and loss of livelihoods in the Horn of Africa."

An estimated 13 million people continue to need humanitarian assistance in Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia. Malnutrition rates remain at alarming levels throughout the region, and, in Somalia, an estimated 250,000 children continue to face starvation in three regions affected by famine. An estimated 1.5 million people have been displaced within Somalia by the drought and conflict, and more than 840,000 Somalis are now living as refugees in Ethiopia and Kenya.

Despite the challenges in reaching those who are suffering, the Government of Canada is confident that these organizations are able to distribute the necessary food, water, and supplies directly to the people.

In today's announcement, the Government of Canada is detailing how it is fulfilling the commitment made through the East Africa Drought Relief Fund. Through the Fund, Canadians are supporting efforts of UN agencies, the Red Cross Movement, and Canadian non-governmental organizations to continue to help meet food, water, health care, and other essential needs of drought-affected people.

In response to the worst drought in eastern Africa in 60 years, the Government of Canada, through CIDA, has allocated $145.1 million since December 2010 to support humanitarian relief efforts in the region.

Through Canada's and other donors' ongoing assistance, results are being achieved. For example, the World Food Programme and its partners are now feeding more than 7 million people across the region. Since January, UNICEF and its partners have reached more than 400,000 children less than five years of age in Somalia with nutrition treatment services, and Oxfam continues to provide an estimated 700,000 people in Mogadishu and the Afgooye Corridor (Somalia) with access to safe potable water.

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

- 30 -

For further information media should contact:

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

Canada's response to the drought in Eastern Africa

In response to the worst drought in eastern Africa in 60 years, the Government of Canada, through CIDA, has allocated $145.1 million to support humanitarian relief efforts in the region since December 2010. The drought, combined with increasing food prices, conflict, and limited humanitarian access, has resulted in a humanitarian crisis affecting millions of people in Kenya, Somalia, Ethiopia, and Djibouti. More than 13 million people in eastern Africa region continue to require humanitarian assistance.

Canada's response includes $74.6 million disbursed to experienced partners working in the region to help meet the immediate humanitarian needs of drought-affected people, as well as access to food, safe water, and emergency medical care.

In addition, the Government of Canada created the East Africa Drought Relief Fund, a mechanism in which the government set aside one dollar for every dollar individual Canadians contributed to Canadian registered charities responding to the drought in eastern Africa. Canadians responded generously, with a tally of $70.5 million matched by the government.

Through Canada's East Africa Drought Relief Fund, the following 14 organizations are being funded, both regionally and in specific countries. This support will help meet the urgent humanitarian needs related to the ongoing effects of the severe drought by providing food, water, sanitation, medical support, and shelter to drought-affected populations across the region:

United Nations ($44.5 million)

World Food Programme (WFP)
To help meet emergency food assistance needs of approximately 8 million of the most vulnerable people in the region, including children less than five years old, pregnant and breastfeeding women, and refugees. ($23 million)

To improve access to beneficiary populations in insecure and conflict-affected areas in Somalia and reduce the risk of death or injury for humanitarian workers, WFP's Humanitarian Air Service will provide safe and reliable air service to the humanitarian community operation in Somalia. ($1 million)

Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
To address the basic needs of as many as 840,000 refugees across the region, UNHCR will provide emergency assistance, including medical support, access to clean water and proper sanitation, shelter and essential non-food household items, and protection. ($10 million)

United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)
To provide urgent lifesaving support to approximately 2 million people throughout the region, primarily drought- affected children and women. UNICEF will ensure access to clean water, nutritional support, and lifesaving vaccines, as well as access to temporary learning spaces for children. ($10 million)

United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
To enable OCHA to provide key leadership and coordination support to strengthen the international humanitarian response to the drought. ($500,000)

Red Cross Movement ($11 million)

International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)
To provide food rations, primary health care, medicine, and vaccines to approximately 1 million people per month in Somalia. The ICRC scaled-up operation includes: food rations for as many as 170,000 households for more than three months; treatment of 36,000 acutely malnourished children and 24,000 pregnant and breastfeeding women for up to five months; support and management of as many as 12 wet-feeding centres in internal displacement camps to address the needs of 25,000 malnourished children and their caregivers for up to five months; and the installation of safe water distribution systems and the chlorination of wells for as many as 170,000 people. ($10 million)

International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC)
To provide humanitarian assistance for approximately 570,000 people in Ethiopia. The IFRC will provide food rations for up to 135,000 drought-affected people, distribute 50,000 mosquito nets and malaria prevention messages to 25,000 vulnerable families, and distribute 486,000 water treatment chemicals and hygiene messages to 27,000 households. ($1 million)

Canadian non-government organizations ($15 million)

Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA)
To contribute to meeting the emergency humanitarian needs of an estimated 84,000 drought- and conflict-affected people in Somalia, ADRA will provide access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene, shelter, non-food items, and health services. ($900,000)

CARE Canada
To improve access to safe water, CARE will rehabilitate existing water sources and provide water treatment options, as well as improve access to appropriate sanitation services, for approximately 35,000 people in Djibouti. ($600,000)

Development and Peace
To address the health and nutrition needs of close to 23,000 children less than five years old and pregnant and lactating mothers in Eritrea, Development and Peace will provide supplementary food rations and improve knowledge of good hygiene and nutrition practices in targeted communities through the distribution of appropriate information. ($1 million)

Médecins sans frontières Canada (MSF)
To provide access to quality primary health care and other services for Somali refugees and the host population in and around the Dolo Ado refugee camp in Ethiopia. MSF will provide emergency obstetric and neonatal care, emergency health care services, therapeutic feeding, and medical care for acutely malnourished people, as well as access to safe water, sanitation, and non-food items as needed. ($1 million)

Oxfam Canada
To increase the ability of 47,000 people in Kenya to access basic food and non-food items, Oxfam Canada will implement a cash voucher operation to help provide access to cash grants. ($1.25 million)

To save lives, increase food consumption, and mitigate the impacts of drought for an estimated 12,500 people in Somalia, mostly women and children, Oxfam Canada will implement emergency cash transfers to vulnerable households for the purchase of food items and essential household items. ($2 million)

Samaritan's Purse Canada
To improve or maintain the health, physical security, and household or community livelihoods of targeted populations in north-eastern Kenya, Samaritan's Purse Canada will strengthen access to safe water for approximately 70,800 people, including water trucking for 9,300 vulnerable drought-affected households, for five months. ($1.1 million)

Save the Children Canada
To address the humanitarian needs of 148,000 people in Ethiopia, Save the Children Canada will provide access to water, proper sanitation, and medical support, including essential drugs for various diseases, such as malaria, pneumonia and diarrhea, for an estimated 10,500 children less than five years old. ($1.75 million)

To address acute malnutrition, Save the Children Canada will ensure access to safe water, adequate sanitation facilities, and basic medical services, as well as increase the knowledge of safe hygiene practices, for approximately 40,000 internally displaced persons living in settlements in Somalia. ($2.75 million)

World Vision Canada
To address the immediate humanitarian needs of drought-affected people, World Vision Canada will provide supplementary feeding and health services for approximately 16,700 acutely malnourished children and pregnant or breastfeeding women and water and sanitation interventions for 6,800 households in Kenya. ($1.45 million)

To reduce the prevalence of acute malnutrition in approximately 15,700 children less than five years old and in pregnant and breastfeeding women, World Vision Canada will mobilize and train community health workers and ensure the screening, identification, and treatment of malnourished children and women in Ethiopia. ($1.2 million)

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

- 30 -