Canada steps up in fight against famine
Commitment comes two months after Metro launched the Focus On Famine series.
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The Canadian government is stepping up its efforts to counter the threat of famine.
International Development minister Marie-Claude Bibeau announced Monday the launch of the Famine Relief Fund, an effort that will match donations made to registered Canadian charities for the same cause between March 17 and June 30 this year.
The new commitment comes two months after Metro launched the Focus On Famine series, highlighting the growing hunger and famine in East Africa and the Middle East, and chronicling efforts of local immigrants to bring relief to desperate families.
The United Nations has already declared famine in some parts of South Sudan, while warning that millions of people in Somalia, Yemen and Nigeria are suffering from hunger and severe malnutrition. About 20 million people in the four countries are at risk of famine, while drought and instability in surrounding countries such as Kenya and Ethiopia add weight to the crisis.
Canada has already committed nearly $120 million towards the US$4.4 billion required to avert the ongoing catastrophe, according to the UN.
“This relief fund is needed now more than ever,” wrote UNICEF Canada chief program officer Meg French in a statement to Metro, noting the spread of the crisis on the ground is outpacing the response so far.
Jamie McIntosh, World Vision Canada’s VP of programs and policy, said there’s still an alarming funding gap but government efforts such as the new relief fund bring much-needed hope.
“There's still an opportunity to pull millions of people back from the brink of starvation,” he said.
Charities to donate to for the matching funds:
- Action Against Hunger
- Adventist Development and Relief Agency Canada
- Canadian Foodgrains Bank
- Canadian Lutheran World Relief
- Canadian Red Cross
- CARE Canada
- Islamic Relief Canada
- Oxfam Canada
- Plan International Canada
- Samaritan’s Purse Canada
- Save the Children Canada
- SOS Children’s Village
- UNICEF Canada
- World Relief Canada
- World Vision Canada