A 2-year-old girl eats a meal in an internally displaced camp in Riimenze, South Sudan, April 29. Up to 20 million people in South Sudan, Yemen, Somalia and northeast Nigeria face the prospect of famine this year. CNS photo/Paul Jeffrey

Ottawa matches $21 million for famine relief

  • August 21, 2017

With the final numbers in, the Canadian government is kicking in $21.3 million to protect 20 million people in Africa and Yemen from imminent starvation, but Canada’s Catholic development agency is continuing to collect more funds even as Ottawa closes down its matching fund program.

Canadians donated $21.3 million to the charities of their choice between March 17 and June 30 in the effort to head off the impending disaster. The federal government will match those funds with its own $21.3 million Famine Relief Fund, which will be distributed among organizations with food security and health projects in the famine zones.

The Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace has raised $2.85 million, of which $1.3 million is eligible for matching. The Catholic organization has an extensive network and experience in Africa and throughout the Middle East and is likely to be one of the development agencies to benefit from the matching funds.

Though no longer eligible for matching funds, Development and Peace continues to campaign on behalf of famine-threatened people in the four famine-threatened countries — Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen. Information about donating is at devp.org/en/emergencies/food-crisis-2017.

The Canadian matching fund was set up in response to a February warning from Food and Agriculture Organization Director-General José Graziano da Silva that 20 million people would starve to death in the next six months without urgent action. In March, Canada pledged close to $120 million.

The food crisis in Africa continues. On July 14, FAO's Global Information and Early Warning System sent out an alert saying the third consecutive failed rainy season is threatening families in central and southern Somalia, South-Eastern Ethiopia, northern and eastern Kenya, northern Tanzania and north-eastern and South-Western Uganda. Development and Peace funds programs for farmers through partner organizations in all of these countries.

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