Red Cross reminds Canadians to donate before matching program deadline

OTTAWA, Sept. 16, 2011 /CNW/ - The Red Cross is reminding Canadians to take advantage of the final day of the Government of Canada matching program to double their donation towards relief efforts in the Horn of Africa.

"Over thirteen million people continue to suffer from lack of water, food, shelter and increasing numbers of reported illnesses," says Hossam Elsharkawi, director of emergency and recovery operations with the Canadian Red Cross. "I urge Canadians who have not already donated to donate today.  Despite many generous Canadians who have already made a contribution, more help is urgently needed."

To date, the Canadian Red Cross has committed $6.4 million to support relief efforts in the Horn of Africa.  Besides helping local Red Cross Red Crescent Societies provide immediate life-saving assistance, twenty percent of all Canadian contributions will be invested in longer-term recovery and disaster risk reduction initiatives.   These funds will address the root causes of this slow onset crisis and strengthen communities that could face future droughts.  This includes building water irrigation systems and distributing seeds and alternate livestock.

"The Red Cross has already made a significant impact in the lives of thousands of people in East Africa but much more work needs to be done," adds Elsharkawi.

The Government of Canada will match the donations of individual Canadians between July 6 and September 16, 2011. Those funds will go into a relief fund that is separate from the Canadian Red Cross and will be administered by the Government of Canada. Funds from the matching program will support on-going humanitarian assistance in drought-affected parts of East Africa.

The Canadian Red Cross is a member of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, which includes the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, the International Committee of the Red Cross and over 185 national Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. The Canadian Red Cross mission is to improve the lives of vulnerable people by mobilizing the power of humanity in Canada and around the world.

SOURCE CANADIAN RED CROSS

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