Venezuela

Maria Minna Announces $175,000 to Help Flood Victims in Venezuela

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Ottawa -- Maria Minna, Canada's Minister for International Cooperation, today announced $175,000 in humanitarian aid to assist victims of the floods in Venezuela. The funding will be channelled through the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), and the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives.

"The massive mudslides and flooding in northern Venezuela were devastating, killing thousands of people and leaving many more homeless or injured," said Minister Minna. "We are helping the victims of this disaster by providing much-needed supplies and shelter."

The Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) will provide $100,000 to PAHO and IFRC supplies such as water purification tablets, medicine, sanitation equipment, and emergency shelter materials. Another $75,000 will go to CIDA's Canada Fund for Local Initiatives. This fund is managed by the Canadian Embassy in Venezuela to support small, locally initiated projects.

Torrential rains began falling in Venezuela last week, triggering massive mudslides from Mount Avila which separates the capital, Caracas, from the Caribbean sea. The mudslides swept away part of the northern coast. Early reports indicate that as many as 2,000 people have been killed as a result of the flooding and mudslides and this number is expected to rise. Thousands more are still missing. The number of people affected by the flooding is estimated to be 150,000. Many of the people killed or wounded were living in substandard housing at the foot of Mount Avila.

Funding for today's humanitarian assistance was provided for in the February 1999 federal budget and is therefore built into the existing fiscal framework.

Information:

Robin Walsh
Office of the Minister for International Cooperation
Telephone: 819 953-3160

Media Relations Office
Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)
Telephone: 819 953-6534
E-Mail: info@acdi-cida.gc.ca

=A9 Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, 1999