Canada's leading aid agencies respond together to the drought and food crisis in the Sahel

OTTAWA, June 14, 2012 /CNW/ - The HUMANITARIAN COALITION, made up of five leading Canadian aid agencies, launches a joint appeal today to help the people of the Sahel region of West Africa survive drought and food shortages. More than 18 million people are at risk of severe hunger. The HUMANITARIAN COALITION urges Canadians to support this relief effort so that a catastrophe can be averted and lives can be saved in Niger, Mali, Chad, Burkina Faso, Mauritania, Senegal, and The Gambia.

The member agencies of the HUMANITARIAN COALITION, CARE Canada, Oxfam Canada, Oxfam-Québec, Plan Canada, and Save the Children Canada, have been present in the region for decades. Over the past months, in response to the food crisis, work on nutrition centres, child education programs, resilience mechanisms, cash-for-work initiatives, assistance to pastoralist communities and Malian refugees has been dramatically scaled up. But the needs of the millions of people facing hunger are now reaching emergency levels.

"Recurring drought is a fact of life in the Sahel and we have already been working with communities to stave off its life-threatening effects," said Rosemary McCarney, President and CEO of Plan Canada. "But now we need to intensify that response before this crisis becomes catastrophic, and so that we can save the lives of families and children who are hungry for food and our attention."

"We can make a difference," said Robert Fox, Executive Director of Oxfam Canada. "Acting now will have a direct impact on the lives of families in areas where crops have failed, market prices are inflated, and insecurity remains high."

After raising awareness of the looming crisis in the Sahel for a number of months, and in addition to allocating $160,000 of its limited resources to support the work of its member agencies, the HUMANITARIAN COALITION is now reaching out to Canadians  and inviting them to give what they can to help the people of the Sahel.

"Today, we are coming together to ask generous Canadians to support our efforts and to encourage their friends and family to do the same," said Patricia Erb, President and CEO of Save the Children Canada.

The HUMANITARIAN COALITION is comprised of CARE Canada, Oxfam Canada, Oxfam-Québec, Plan Canada and Save the Children. With a combined presence in more than 120 countries, we bring together Canada's leading aid agencies to finance relief efforts in times of international humanitarian crises. We work together to reduce administrative costs by uniting to raise funds and inform the public on humanitarian needs.

To donate to THE HUMANITARIAN COALITION, call 1-800-464-9154, log onto together.ca or send donations to THE HUMANITARIAN COALITION, P.O. Box 7023, Ottawa, ON, K1L 5A0. 

SOURCE Humanitarian Coalition

For further information:

For interviews, please call:

HUMANITARIAN COALITION
Marie-Jo Proulx
Communications Manager
613-617-3596
mj.proulx@humanitariancoalition.ca

CARE Canada
Alison Frehlich
613-799-7562
media@care.ca 


Oxfam Canada
Juliet O'Neill
613-240-3047
Juliet.ONeill@Oxfam.ca 


Oxfam-Québec
Justine Lesage
514-513-0013
LesageJ@oxfam.qc.ca

Plan Canada
Abigail Brown
416-920-1654 ext.277
ABrown@PlanCanada.ca

Save the Children
Cicely McWilliam
647-291-1683
CMcWilliam@savethechildren.ca


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