Canada providing humanitarian assistance to people in Burma (Myanmar)

June 8, 2013

Tens of thousands of Burmese people are living in crisis due to violence and conflict, which has resulted in large-scale displacements and worsening humanitarian conditions. Today, the Honourable Tim Uppal, Minister of State (Democratic Reform), announced on behalf of the Honourable Julian Fantino, Minister of International Cooperation, life-saving assistance in response to humanitarian appeals for the people of Burma.

"Despite some recent positive political developments in Burma, the humanitarian situation in many border areas of the country remains very difficult," said Minister Uppal. "Canada's support will help to ensure that life-saving humanitarian assistance including food, water, shelter, and protection, is provided to the most vulnerable people affected by the conflict."

Between 75,000—100,000 Burmese—mostly women and children—have been displaced due to conflict and are living in makeshift camps in Kachin and Shan States, or in neighbouring China. In addition, in June and October 2012, violent communal clashes in Rakhine state resulted in the displacement of more than 100,000 people.

"Canada is helping ensure that Burmese people affected by crisis receive the emergency life-saving support they need," said Minister Fantino. "Canada's support will help to improve health, living conditions, and protection for those living in conflict-affected areas of the country."

"I would like to convey my heartfelt appreciation to the Government of Canada for Canada's commitment in providing crucial humanitarian assistance to the most vulnerable people in Burma's ethnic regions," said Zaw Kyaw, spokesperson for the Burma Ethnic Network-Canada. "I am sure that Canada will continue its strong role for Burma, not only in providing assistance for the people in need but also in building a prosperous, peaceful and democratic nation."

Canada provides humanitarian assistance to the most vulnerable people facing natural disasters and conflict. The Economic Action Plan 2013 affirms Canada's commitment to providing humanitarian assistance. The new Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development will maintain the mandate of poverty alleviation and help achieve greater efficiency, accountability and focus to continue to improve the lives of people in need around the world.

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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

Each year, Canada, through the Canadian International Development Agency, responds to the annual appeals issued by international and Canadian humanitarian partners. These annual appeals outline the planned response to a variety of humanitarian crises due to conflict or food insecurity around the world. Such crises result from prolonged hunger, conflict, insecurity and the breakdown of civil order. They affect huge numbers of people, cause extensive human suffering, and are extremely difficult to resolve.

In response to the 2013 appeals for Burma, Canada is providing $4.2 million in humanitarian assistance in response to humanitarian needs in the conflict-affected areas of the country, as follows:

Hope International Development Agency — $300,000

Hope International Development Agency will provide humanitarian assistance to up to 18,700 conflict-affected, internally displaced people in the areas of Kachin state, northern Burma, through the provision of;

  • water supply systems and sanitary latrines in displacement camps;
  • hygiene kits and education; and
  • non-food items, such as warm clothing and blankets for displaced families.

Oxfam Canada — $1 million

With Canada's support, Oxfam will provide humanitarian assistance for up to 15,500 people living in conflict-affected areas of Kachin state, northern Burma, through the provision of;

  • safe drinking water, hygiene supplies and training; and
  • skills training and cash grants for displaced people to support resumption of livelihoods.

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees — $1 million

Canada's support will help to provide basic services and protection for up to 150,000 displaced and stateless people in Rakhine state, Kachin state and southeastern Burma through:

  • the provision of drinking water, shelter and other non-food relief items; and
  • protection monitoring and training.

UNICEF — $300,000

Canada's support will help to improve the health and well-being of children and women suffering from acute malnutrition through the provision of:

  • therapeutic and supplementary feeding for children under five years of age; and
  • micronutrient supplementation for up to 16,000 children under five years of age and up to 7,400 pregnant or lactating women.

World Food Programme — $1 million

Canada's support will help to provide food and nutrition assistance to more than 200,000 crisis-affected people through the provision of:

  • monthly food distributions to especially vulnerable households;
  • supplementary foods to children and pregnant or lactating women, and people with HIV/AIDS or tuberculosis;
  • school meals or take-home rations for children attending school; and
  • food-for-work opportunities.

Other humanitarian partners — $600,000 $

Canada's support will help to improve the health, living conditions, and protection of up to 62,000 people in conflict-affected areas of Burma through the provision of:

  • water and sanitation facilities;
  • basic health services and support to rehabilitate health facilities, to increase access to basic health care services;
  • non-food relief items; and