TORONTO, Sept. 15, 2017 /CNW/ - UNICEF Canada has responded to today's announcement by Minister of International Development and La Francophone Marie-Claude Bibeau of $2.55 million in funding to help scale up the humanitarian response to the crisis in Myanmar's Rakhine state and displaced persons in Bangladesh. UNICEF Canada's Chief Program Officer, Meg French, provided the following response:
"We are very pleased that Canada is taking action today to help provide urgent relief to the hundreds of thousands of children and families who have fled violence in Myanmar and sought safety across the border in Bangladesh.
After violence broke out in Rakhine State three weeks ago, up to 400,000 people are estimated to have fled to Bangladesh, including nearly 200,000 children and counting, who have been violently ripped from their lives overnight.
UNICEF has been scaling up its relief operations in response to the mass exodus of Rohingya, working to protect the most vulnerable children. We continue to truck emergency water and sanitation and hygiene supplies to Cox's Bazar, where the refugees have already overwhelmed pre-existing camps and the struggle for shelter is severe.
UNICEF currently has 40 staff on the ground and more support from Dhaka, but the number of new arrivals continues to rise rapidly. Despite our best efforts, the current scale of the crisis demands additional humanitarian response. The longer it takes for humanitarian aid to reach the most vulnerable, the greater the risk of the spread of waterborne diseases.
We commend today's announcement from the Government of Canada as a welcome measure to help avert a humanitarian catastrophe in the region. The investment of $550,000 for UNICEF will allow us to continue providing life-saving assistance to the most vulnerable children, including establishing child-friendly spaces, providing psychosocial support for the most affected children, building gender-segregated latrines and bathing cubicles and coordinating the distribution of hygiene kits and water purification tablets.
The continued support of Canadians will make a difference in helping provide life-saving assistance where it's needed most."
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. For more information about UNICEF, please visit www.unicef.ca.
SOURCE UNICEF Canada
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