Government of Canada

Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada

www.international.gc.ca

Minister Oda expresses concern over worsening situation in East Africa

July 20, 2011

OTTAWA, Ontario — Today, while travelling to Kenya, the Honourable Beverley J. Oda, Minister of International Cooperation, expressed the Government of Canada's extreme concern regarding the situation in the Horn of Africa. The United Nations upgraded the level of the humanitarian emergency in parts of Somalia, officially recognizing the crisis as a famine.

Our government has a strong record of commitment to Africa, and we will continue to show our support during this tragic crisis, said Minister Oda. "The situation facing people in the region, especially the women and children, is dire. Canada is committed to making a real difference in their lives."

Minister Oda is travelling to East Africa to observe the extent of this tragic crisis and meet with aid groups working on the ground. On Friday, Minister Oda will travel to the refugee camps in Dadaab, Kenya, where thousands of Somalis are arriving every day seeking assistance. The camps, originally intended for 90,000 refugees, currently hold almost 400,000 people.

Canada welcomes the announcement by the Prime Minister of Kenya on July 14, 2011, to expand the Dadaab refugee camps to meet the needs of the increasing number of refugees fleeing the drought and ongoing conflict in Somalia, concluded Minister Oda.

Canada is consistently a strong supporter of humanitarian work in Africa. In 2009, Canada became the first G-8 country to double its total aid to Africa. Already this year, Canada provided $22.35 million for humanitarian assistance in the Horn of Africa. Of this amount, $11.55 million was in response to the needs of conflict-and drought-affected populations in Somalia and Somalia refugees in Kenya.

— 30 —

For more information:

Justin Broekema
Office of the Minister of International Cooperation
Telephone: 819-953-6238
Email: justin.broekema@acdi-cida.gc.ca

Media Relations Office
Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)
Telephone: 819-953-6534
Email: media@acdi-cida.gc.ca