By Yekeen Nurudeen
As parts of its commitment to help countries with acute food crisis address the problem, the Canadian Government has launched a Famine Relief Fund that will immediately assist countries such as Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen who are currently facing humanitarian crisis.
The Canadian Government had on March 17, 2017, announced $119.25 million in humanitarian funding to respond to food crises in these four countries and has remained one of the earliest major donors to provide funds for the four affected countries.
Canadian Minister of International Development and La Francophonie, Marie-Claude Bibeau, who launched the Fund, announced that for every eligible donation made by individual Canadians to registered Canadian charities between March 17 and June 30, 2017, the Government of Canada would contribute an equivalent amount to the Famine Relief Fund.
She lamented that more than 20 million people in northeast Nigeria,Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen are at risk of starvation as a result of severe drought and conflict noting that South Sudan is experiencing famine, and unless immediate action is taken, others could slide into a similar situation.
“This is an unprecedented situation. The Government of Canada is responding to this crisis and will also help Canadians mobilize their own response to a global appeal through the creation of the Famine Relief Fund.
Hunger is having a real impact on young children in particular as some 1.4 million are now at risk of dying of acute malnutrition and disease.Millions across the four affected countries and the neighbouring regions are in need of basic necessities such as urgent food assistance, water, sanitation services, health care, and shelter”, Bibeau said.
The Fund, according to her, will support Canadian and international organizations currently working hard at providing assistance to those in need in the affected countries and neighbouring regions.
“Over 20 million men, women and children are at risk of starvation if we do not act now. Canadians have always demonstrated great compassion when it comes to humanitarian crises. I encourage all Canadians to donate to the registered Canadian charities of their choice. Together, we can make a difference and bring relief to people who need urgent help,” the Minister said.
It would be recalled that the UN Secretary-General António Guterres, had on February 22, 2017 called on the international community to take decisive action to avert further catastrophe in Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen.