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Canada providing further humanitarian assistance to the people of Afghanistan

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AJAX — The prolonged crises in Afghanistan have left many Afghans highly vulnerable, with many suffering food insecurity and displacement from their homes. Today, Chris Alexander, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Defence and MP for Ajax-Pickering, on behalf of the Honourable Julian Fantino, Minister of International Cooperation, that life-saving assistance will be provided in response to humanitarian appeals for the people of Afghanistan.

"Afghanistan has been suffering armed conflict for decades, and the country suffers from recurrent natural disasters," said PS Chris Alexander. "The crises have left Afghans highly vulnerable. Canada's support will help ensure that life-saving humanitarian assistance, including food, water and shelter, are provided to the most vulnerable people."

Afghanistan continues to experience frequent but small-scale natural disasters affecting around 250,000 Afghans annually. In 2012 alone, 440 natural disaster incidents were reported, killing 441 people and destroying as many as 27,430 homes. As well, some 4.5 million people—approximately one-third of Afghanistan's population—are severely food insecure.

"Canadian values of compassion and concern for those facing adversity are clearly expressed through our international humanitarian assistance," said Minister Fantino. "Our government will continue to provide help to the millions of Afghans who are suffering due to the lack of food and the hundreds of thousands without shelter."

Canada provides humanitarian assistance to the most vulnerable people facing conflict and natural disasters. The Government's Economic Action Plan 2013 affirms Canada's commitment to providing humanitarian assistance. The new Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development will maintain the mandate of poverty alleviation and will help Canada achieve greater efficiency, accountability, and focus to continue to improve the lives of people in need around the world.

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For more information, media should contact:

Daniel Bezalel Richardsen
Press Secretary to the Minister of International Cooperation
Telephone: 819-953-6238

Media Relations Office
Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)
Telephone: 819-953-6534
Follow us on Twitter: @CIDA_CA


Each year, Canada responds to the annual appeals issued by international and Canadian humanitarian agencies. These annual appeals outline the planned response to a variety of humanitarian crises due to conflict or natural disasters around the world. Such crises result from prolonged hunger, conflict, insecurity and the breakdown of civil order. They affect huge numbers of people, cause extensive human suffering, and are extremely difficult to resolve.

In response to the 2013 appeals for Afghanistan, Canada is providing $18.13 million in humanitarian assistance to the following organizations.

CARE Canada —$2.13 million

CIDA's support will help improve living conditions and disaster management through
•the distribution of shelter and non-food items to more than 40,000 vulnerable crisis-affected people, and
•the provision of community resilience training, benefiting more than 17,000 vulnerable people in 134 disaster-prone areas including 12 community-based disaster risk management committees in six displaced-persons camps and returnee settlements.

United Nations World Food Programme—$8 million

CIDA's support will contribute to the provision of 5,728 metric tons of food to help 250,000 vulnerable people affected by natural disasters and 321,000 people affected by conflict or insecurity. This support will provide wheat, fortified oil, biscuits and cash vouchers to more than 250,000 people affected by natural disasters or conflict.

United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs—$4 million

CIDA's support will contribute to the ability of local and international humanitarian organizations to rapidly access funds to respond to emergencies, with a focus on reaching women and other vulnerable groups.

Other humanitarian partners—$4 million

CIDA's support will contribute to improved health, living conditions and protection for crisis-affected people through the provision of
•physical rehabilitation for persons with disabilities;
•technical support to improve services in hospitals and health clinics across the country;
•improvements to urban and rural water supply systems; and
•enhanced preparedness and response to situations of violence or armed conflict.

Canada announced on April 9, 2013 a new partnership with Save the Children that will help provide critical nutritional supplements to pregnant and nursing mothers, and children in their first year of life in Afghanistan. This partnership will help improve the nutrition, health, and survival of pregnant and nursing mothers and children under two. The project will also increase awareness among Afghan families of the importance of nutrition for healthy mothers and children. It will also strengthen the capacity of the Afghanistan government to deliver health programs targeted at maternal, newborn and child health.