By Yekeen Nurudeen
Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen have been selected by the Government of Canada to benefit from its $119.25 million grant to respond to humanitarian crisis in their respective domains.
Canadian Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, Ahmed Hussen on behalf of the Minister of International Development and La Francophonie,Marie-Claude Bibeau announced that Canada will provide funding to respond to needs of crisis-affected people in the four countries.
“It is a human tragedy that the situation has deteriorated to the extent where we have over 20 million people facing starvation. This assistance will be disbursed immediately to the most affected areas. We urge all actors in the affected countries to facilitate humanitarian access so that assistance can reach those most in need,” Hussen quoted Bibeau as saying.
According to a statement issued by the Head of Public Affairs Department at Canadian High Commission in Abuja, Ezinne Uluocha, the funding announced will help provide life-saving assistance to crisis-affected people in these countries and will take into account the specific needs of women and children.
“Canada is continuing its humanitarian tradition by stepping up to bring much-needed humanitarian assistance to communities in need. We work with trusted humanitarian partners that will make sure that the aid gets there quickly and goes to support the most vulnerable people,” Hussen said.
The assistance will also include the provision of food and nutrition,health care services, clean water and sanitation facilities, and livelihoods support. As a result of conflicts in Northeastern Nigeria, South Sudan and Yemen, as well as a devastating drought affecting Somalia, more than 20 million people are facing extreme food insecurity, with famine already declared in parts of South Sudan.
Earlier this month, the United Nations appealed for urgent humanitarian aid, saying this it is the largest humanitarian crisis since the end of the Second World War.
While most humanitarian partners have been able to deliver life-saving assistance to those in need, insecurity due to conflicts and a lack of respect for international humanitarian law has hindered the response.
He however, called on all parties to provide a safe and immediate access for humanitarian workers and allow them to do their work. In 2016, Canada provided over $100 million in life-saving humanitarian assistance to crisis-affected people in all four countries.
The assistance will be provided through experienced humanitarian partners, including UN agencies, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, and Canadian and international non-governmental organizations.
Canada’s humanitarian assistance saves lives, alleviates suffering and maintains dignity of those affected by natural disasters, conflict or acute food insecurity.