Government of Canada

Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada

www.international.gc.ca

Canadian humanitarian aid to help Syrians

March 12, 2012

Ottawa, Ontario—Today, the Honourable Beverley J. Oda, Minister of International Cooperation, announced Canada is supporting needed emergency humanitarian assistance in Syria.

Canada, through the Canadian International Development Agency, is providing immediate support to help provide access to emergency food assistance, safe water, sanitation facilities, essential household items, and other much-needed assistance to the victims of violence.

"The violence in Syria is increasingly horrifying, causing death, injuries, and displacing thousands from their homes and communities. Canada remains very concerned for the people affected by this conflict," said Minister Oda.

Some humanitarian organizations have now been able to enter some regions of Syria. Access into those locations most severely targeted with conflict is sporadic, and civilian mobility is limited. Those who are able have left their homes and are moving into safer regions. This has increased the number of both internal refugees and those fleeing into neighbouring countries.

International humanitarian organizations are also building up their capacity and supplies in preparation for greater access, if granted by Syrian officials.

"Humanitarian agencies in the area are working in a very insecure and highly dangerous environment. We continue to call for an end to the violence and for the immediate full, safe, and unhindered access for humanitarian agencies to those suffering as a result of this conflict," said Minister Oda.

The ongoing unrest in Syria continues to impact close to three million civilians, with over 7,500 people killed, thousands seeking refuge in neighbouring countries, and an estimated 750,000 people displaced. The health and safety of civilians remains a key challenge, as does the decreasing access to food and safe water.

"We continue to reiterate: Assad must go. Change will happen. Syrians will have their day—and Canada stands with the Syrian people in their push for a better, brighter future," said Minister Oda.

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For more information, media should contact:

Justin Broekema
Press Secretary to 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


Backgrounder

Fuel shortages, combined with high levels of violence and insecurity, are contributing to the erosion of livelihoods and decreasing access to food among civilian populations. As the conflict intensifies, so does the scale and scope of humanitarian needs. Humanitarian partners are working hard to support the conflict-affected people of Syria.

CIDA's support of up to $7.5 million includes previously announced Government of Canada funding and will help meet the most pressing needs arising from the crisis. Access to medical services, safe water, and food are critical for communities caught in the crossfire of the conflict. Support to the thousands of internally displaced people and refugees who have fled the fighting also remains a priority.