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(97-67) Canada Helps Flood Victims in Poland and the Czech Republic

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Ottawa -- The Minister for International Cooperation and Minister responsible for La Francophonie, the Honourable Diane Marleau, today announced The Canadian International Development Agency would provide $40,000 for humanitarian assistance to victims of the worst flooding ever to hit Central Europe. This annoucement comes as a direct response to calls for international assistance from the Department of Humanitarian Aid of the United Nations and by the Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

"Canadians know how comforting outpourings of support are in these situations," Ms. Marleau said. "This initiative will help to provide relief for the victims, and contribute to reconstruction efforts in flooded areas."

Canada will provide $22,000 in flood relief to both Poland and the Czech Republic. The contribution to Poland will help the Polish Red Cross Federation provide flood evacuees with drinking water, food and shelter. The funds designated for the Czech Republic will help provide Canadian goods and services to help in the reconstruction effort. CIDA's assistance will allow the firm Geomatics International, from Burlington, Ont, and its Czech counterpart MGE Data, to help the Czech government use data collected by the RADARSAT satellite to plan reconstruction efforts in that country.

For the past two weeks, torrential rains have been falling on Central Europe, resulting in material losses totalling several billion dollars in south-west Poland, across the Czech Republic, northern Slovakia and in north-east Hungary. More than 200,000 people have been forced from their homes, and more than one hundred people have died.

Funding for these initiatives was provided in the federal budget tabled in February 1997, and is part of the existing financial framework.

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=A9 Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, 1997