OTTAWA, Canada, July 24, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Today, on behalf of the Honourable Christian Paradis, Minister of International Development and La Francophonie, Nina Grewal, Member of Parliament for Fleetwood-Port Kells, announced humanitarian assistance funding to support the efforts of UNICEF in Somalia. The support will help improve the health, well-being and protection of children, women and their families.
“In light of the continuing humanitarian crisis in Somalia, Canada is answering the call to provide additional help,” said MP Grewal. “Canada’s support to UNICEF will help ensure that Somali families get what they need to survive, including access to safe water, treatment for malnutrition, and essential vaccinations for children.”
After decades of conflict and insecurity, punctuated by recurring drought, Somalia faces one of the worst and longest-running humanitarian crises in the world. The funding announced today will support UNICEF’s efforts to save the lives of Somali children by providing essential vaccinations, treatment for malnutrition, improved access to safe water, community-based care and support for child victims of gender-based violence and military recruitment, as well as improved access to quality education for children and the provision of support to protect the livelihoods of crisis-affected families.
Maternal, newborn and child health is Canada’s top development priority. At the Saving Every Woman, Every Child summit held in Toronto last May, Prime Minister Stephen Harper released the Toronto Statement, which reaffirmed global consensus on the way forward toward ending the preventable deaths of mothers, newborns and children under the age of five within a generation, and committed an additional $3.5 billion toward achieving that goal.
“We welcome the Government of Canada’s generous support for the children, women and families of Somalia as we have a small but critical window to do what’s needed to prevent a repeat of the famine of 2011, ” said David Morley, President and CEO of UNICEF Canada. “Somalia is at a crossroads with 50,000 children severely malnourished, including many at risk of death within weeks if they do not get the treatment they need.”
UNICEF works to help save the lives of children and their families by providing children with health care and immunization, clean water, nutrition and food security, education and emergency relief.
“Canada is committed to supporting our partners such as UNICEF, to provide life-saving assistance to extremely vulnerable families and individuals in Somalia,” said Minister Paradis. “Canada will continue to respond to the needs of people facing humanitarian crises in the developing world.”
MP Grewal made the announcement at a round table, hosted by the Umoja Operation Compassion Society, to discuss the current challenges in Somalia.
• More than one third of the Somali population faces food insecurity.
• Child malnutrition rates in Somalia are among of the worst in the world.
• From May 28 to 30, 2014, in Toronto, the Prime Minister hosted the Saving Every Woman, Every Child: Within Arm’s Reach Summit and Canada committed $3.5 billion to advance maternal, newborn and child health as a global priority beyond 2015.
• Canada’s contribution will continue to target the most effective ways to reduce maternal and child deaths by prioritizing efforts in three areas: strengthening health systems, improving nutrition, and reducing the burden of leading diseases.
• Solid international progress is being made to address maternal, newborn and child health. The global number of deaths of children under the age of five has dropped significantly, from nearly 12 million in 1990, to 6.6 million in 2012.
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