the Government of Canada thanks Canadians for their support to the people of the Sahel

December 4, 2012 - Today, the Minister of International Cooperation, the Honourable Julian Fantino, thanked Canadians for their generous support to help meet the needs of millions of people in the Sahel region of Africa.

"Canadians have a long tradition of generosity in helping the most vulnerable people in times of great need," said Minister Fantino. "I am pleased that Canadians have responded and, once again, lived up to our Canadian values to help the world's most vulnerable, particularly women and children."

The food and nutrition crisis in the Sahel is affecting over 18 million people, including more than one million children at risk of severe acute malnutrition. With Canada's help, humanitarian organizations have provided food assistance to more than six million people and have treated more than 526,000 children suffering from severe acute malnutrition.

"Canadians have supported our humanitarian partners and registered charities that are fundraising for the Sahel crisis to ensure that critical, life-saving work continues," Minister Fantino said. "Canada was one of the first countries to respond to the humanitarian crisis and we are committed to continuing our efforts to meet humanitarian needs in the region."

On August 7, 2012, the Government of Canada announced that it would match, dollar-for-dollar, donations made by individual Canadians to registered Canadian charities responding to the Sahel crisis, through the Sahel Crisis Matching Fund. Funds are being allocated by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) to established Canadian and international humanitarian organizations for humanitarian efforts that benefit the people most affected by the crisis.

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For more information, media should contact:

Daniel Bezalel Richardsen
Press Secretary to the Minister of International Cooperation
Telephone: 819-953-6238
Email: danielbezalel.richardsen@acdi-cida.gc.ca

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

Backgrounder

Canadians support people in need through the Sahel Crisis Matching Fund

The Government of Canada's response to the Sahel food and nutrition crisis, totalling $57.5 million to date, combined with the donations by Canadians to registered Canadian charities, ensures our humanitarian partners are able to do more to help ease the suffering of people throughout the Sahel.

Individual Canadians showed their generosity by donating more than $6.9 million to registered charities between August 7 and September 30, 2012, as part of the Sahel Crisis Matching Fund initiative.

This generosity complements the $57.5 million in humanitarian assistance provided by the Government of Canada during the course of 2012. Together, we are making a real difference in the lives of those most affected by the crisis.

Canada was one of the first countries to take action to support relief efforts in the Sahel to meet urgent needs and to prevent a further deterioration of the humanitarian situation in the Sahel.

The Sahel region is experiencing a food and nutrition crisis caused by a combination of erratic rainfall, chronic poverty, high food prices, and little time to recover from multiple droughts in recent years. The crisis is affecting over 18 million people in the region. The countries most affected are Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Cameroon, The Gambia and Senegal.

For more information on Canada's intervention in the Sahel region, please visit the web page on the Food and Nutrition Crisis in the Sahel.