TORONTO, Oct. 31, 2017 /CNW/ - UNICEF Canada has responded to today's announcement by Minister of International Development and La Francophonie Marie-Claude Bibeau of a relief fund to help scale up the humanitarian response to the Rohingya crisis near the Myanmar and Bangladesh border. UNICEF Canada President and CEO David Morley provided the following response:
"We are very pleased that Canada is taking action today to help provide urgent relief to the 1.2 million Rohingya in need of assistance, including 720,000 children. The Myanmar Crisis Relief Fund builds on the Government's previous commitment of more than $25 million to UNICEF and partners in Myanmar and Bangladesh to meet the needs of the most vulnerable children and their families.
Until November 28, Canadians can double the impact of their support, and help us reach twice as many children in need. For any donation made by individual Canadians to humanitarian organizations working to support Rohingya refugees – organizations like UNICEF – the Government of Canada will make a donation of equivalent value to the relief fund.
There is no time to lose. Every day, UNICEF workers on the border in Bangladesh see the faces of ever more children who have run from unspeakable atrocities in search of safety, often separated from their families along the way, and in desperate need of life-saving support.
The escalation of violence in Rakhine state in Myanmar has created a humanitarian crisis. Since the influx of Rohingya refugees began on August 25, humanitarian agencies like UNICEF have been working to keep up, but the demand is outpacing all of us. Children and their families urgently need shelter, along with access to food, safe water, vaccinations and sanitation to ensure protection against deadly diseases. And if we wait too long, children could be irreparably set back in their education.
The conditions in which Rohingya children now find themselves would be unthinkable for any child. But for the child that is alone, separated from their family or orphaned – of which there are nearly 1,700 – it is horrifying. I challenge anyone to put themselves in that position and not feel compelled to act.
UNICEF is acting. Together, with our partners, we have provided safe water to more than 128,000 people. We procured 900,000 doses of Oral Cholera Vaccine to prevent a cholera outbreak. We have given psychosocial and recreational support to more than 35,000 children. And, we have provided tonnes of supplies – life-saving water-purifying tablets, family hygiene kits, sanitary materials and plastic tarpaulins – for hundreds of thousands of Rohingya children.
We condemn the violence, and call for an immediate end to hostilities and full respect for international law and children's rights. And we commend today's announcement from the Government of Canada as a welcome measure to help avert a total catastrophe.
Canadians are known the world over for their generosity and compassion. Today especially, on Halloween and National UNICEF Day, many of us remember providing our first support to the world's children by carrying the Orange Box. The Rohingya children need the continued life-saving support of Canadians."
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 more than 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. For updates, follow us on Twitter and Facebook or visit unicef.ca.
SOURCE UNICEF Canada
For further information: For interviews or more information, please contact: Stefanie Carmichael, UNICEF Canada, 416-482-6552 ext. 8866, [email protected]