Media advisory: UNICEF spokespeople available to comment on the crisis in the Central African Republic and Canada's role

TORONTO, Feb. 12, 2014 /CNW/ - Today, Members of Parliament will be debating Canada's role in responding to the humanitarian crisis in the Central African Republic.

Across the country, over 850,000 people, the majority of them women and children, have been forced to flee their homes. As conflict intensifies, the numbers forced to flee grows daily.

2.3 million children are at risk of violence and exploitation including participating in fighting forces. Sexual violence against girls is on the rise.

The crisis in CAR has made critical health care nearly impossible to access and interrupted malnutrition treatment programs. Measles outbreaks are on the rise throughout the country. Seven out of ten primary school children in Central African Republic have stopped going to classes.

With funds from the Government of Canada in 2013, UNICEF has provided critical interventions such as immunizations, and screening and treatment for malnutrition. Without additional critical humanitarian aid and increased security and access, UNICEF will not be able to reach the millions of children affected by the conflict with the essential protection and care they need.

WHAT: Interview opportunities

WHO: UNICEF Canada's President & CEO David Morley and Souleymane Diabaté, UNICEF Country Representative, based  in the Central African Republic.

WHEN: February 12th and 13th, 2014

UNICEF

UNICEF has saved more children's lives than any other humanitarian organization. We work tirelessly to help children and their families, doing whatever it takes to ensure children survive. We provide children with healthcare and immunization, clean water, nutrition and food security, education, emergency relief and more.

UNICEF is supported entirely by voluntary donations and helps children regardless of race, religion or politics. As part of the UN, we are active in over 190 countries - more than any other organization. Our determination and our reach are unparalleled. Because nowhere is too far to go to help a child survive.

SOURCE UNICEF Canada

For further information:

Layal Horanieh
Media Relations Specialist
office: 514-288-5134 ext. 8425 cell: 514 232-4510
lhoranieh@unicef.ca