Canada steps up in ght against famine in East Africa
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.