Canada steps up in ght against famine in East Africa

StarMetro Vancouver - - CANADA - Gil­bert Ngabo

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 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, 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 catas­tro­phe.

“This relief fund is needed now more than ever,” wrote UNICEF Canada chief pro­gram of­fi­cer Meg French in a state­ment.

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 much­needed hope.

“There’s still an op­por­tu­nity to pull mil­lions of peo­ple back from the brink of star­va­tion,” he said.

A dis­placed So­mali woman car­ries her child on her back on May 24, 2017 at a makeshift camp in the Garas­ba­ley area on the out­skirts of the cap­i­tal Mo­gadishu, where peo­ple con­verge af­ter lee­ing their homes due to the dire drought con­di­tions.

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