Somalia-Canadians issue urgent appeal to help their homeland

CALGARY, Sept. 7, 2011 /CNW/ - Members of Canada's Somali diaspora are launching an urgent appeal to help their families struggling to cope with famine in their homeland.

"Our families are running out of time," says Asha Jama, a member of the diaspora who lives in Calgary. "Our loved ones are caught in the middle of this humanitarian tragedy and the misery of famine is spreading to many parts of northern Somalia."

The appeal comes on the heels of the most recent United Nations report declaring a sixth area of famine in Somalia, along with warnings that 750,000 Somalis could die in the next few months unless aid efforts scale up.

"We are asking members from all different Somali groups across Canada to raise as much money as possible before the Government of Canada's donation matching deadline of Sept. 16," says Jama.

Population estimates for the Somali diaspora in Canada are as high as 200,000 residents with the largest settlements living in Calgary, Edmonton and Toronto. Funds raised through this community initiative will be donated to World Vision, a child-focused aid agency that has worked in Somalia since 1992. The agency is currently providing drought relief throughout the Horn of Africa, including the northern Somali regions of Puntland and Somaliland, and in refugee camps along Somalia's borders. World Vision's emergency response is operating in tandem with its long-term development activities such as agricultural support for farmers and veterinary care for livestock.

"So far Canadians have pledged more than $8.5 million for the entire Horn of Africa," says Dave Toycen, president and CEO, World Vision Canada. "We are very grateful for the generosity that Canadians are continuing to show from coast to coast."

World Vision is a Christian relief, development and advocacy organization dedicated to working with children, families and communities to overcome poverty and injustice. World Vision serves all people regardless of religion, race, ethnicity or gender. Visit our News Centre at

SOURCE World Vision Canada

For further information:

Darryl Konynenbelt, Manager - Corporate Communications
Tel. 905-565-6200 ext 2496, mobile 416-669-2602

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