September 11, 2012
OUAGADOUGOU, Burkina Faso—The Honourable Julian Fantino, Minister of International Cooperation, accompanied by heads of Canadian humanitarian organizations, today conducted a visit to Mentao refugee camp to raise awareness of the food and nutrition crisis in the Sahel region of West Africa.
"Today, I saw first-hand a true humanitarian crisis. I heard about the hardship that women, men and children are facing through these incredibly difficult times," said Minister Fantino. "The Government of Canada remains gravely concerned by this humanitarian crisis. This is why we established the Sahel Crisis Matching Fund to raise additional funds for relief efforts in the Sahel. To date, Canadians have donated $1.8 million to the matching fund. With continued generosity, we can support more people in dire need and ultimately save lives."
Minister Fantino and the heads of Canadian humanitarian organizations met with refugees and locals affected by the humanitarian crisis caused by drought, poor harvests, rising food prices, population displacement, insecurity, and political instability. Almost 19 million people in the Sahel region of West Africa have been adversely affected, to date. The humanitarian situation has deteriorated dramatically throughout 2012. The countries most affected by the Sahel crisis are Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso, Chad, Mauritania, Senegal, Gambia, and northern Cameroon.
"Canadians have shown time and again their generosity and support for people most in need around the world," added Minister Fantino." I urge all Canadians, and the international community, to support the people in the Sahel as they endure the ongoing crisis. Canadians have until September 30, 2012, to make a donation."
The Government of Canada will match funds raised from August 7 to September 30, 2012. The Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) will allocate these funds to established Canadian and international humanitarian organizations to support relief efforts that will benefit the people who are most affected by the food and nutrition crisis.
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For more information, media should contact:
Director of Communications to the Minister of International Cooperation
Media Relations Office
Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)