OTTAWA - The Honourable Beverley J. Oda, Minister of International Cooperation, and the Honourable Maxime Bernier, Minister of Foreign Affairs, announced today that the Government of Canada will increase its support for humanitarian aid in Kenya.
Canada, through the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), will provide an additional contribution of almost $3.3 million to UN agencies and Canadian non-governmental organizations as part of a global effort to provide assistance to Kenyans seriously affected by the violence arising following the disputed elections. This additional assistance builds on Canada's previous $1 million contribution made earlier this year to support the Red Cross Movement's efforts in Kenya.
"Canadians are very concerned by the events that are taking place in Kenya and that's why Canada was among the first countries to announce emergency aid," said Minister Oda. "This additional contribution of almost $3.3 million in funding will help organizations such as UNICEF, the World Food Programme and others alleviate the suffering of those affected by the incidents of violence that followed the elections."
"Canada strongly urges those groups instigating, organizing or participating in acts of violence to lay down their arms," Minister Bernier said. "We reiterate our support for the efforts of Kofi Annan and other eminent African persons to bring a negotiated end to the crisis. Canada urges the Government of Kenya to ensure that all incidents of violence are investigated and perpetrators brought to justice," Minister Bernier added.
In addition to its increased contribution, Canada has deployed three specialists to assist UNICEF in Kenya to help protect displaced children and women, help ensure access to clean water and assist in the coordination of ongoing emergency efforts. These specialists will coordinate with other humanitarian agencies already in Kenya to ensure an effective overall response, including the use of funds pledged by the United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) for this situation.
In December 2007, Canada pledged $192 million over 5 years to the CERF, a rapid response fund, making Canada the fifth largest donor to this first critical response fund for humanitarian agencies. In addition, the Canadian Foodgrains Bank is currently providing emergency food assistance in Kenya, drawing on Canada's annual support of $20 million, announced in July 2007.
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