Canada Supports Key Partners Addressing Humanitarian Needs in Afghanistan and Southeast Asia

Canada providing support to projects underway by World Vision Canada and the Canadian Red Cross

September 23, 2014 – Pickering, Ontario – Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada

Today, Corneliu Chisu, Member of Parliament for Pickering–Scarborough East, on behalf of the Honourable Christian Paradis, Minister of International Development and La Francophonie, announced funding for World Vision Canada and the Canadian Red Cross to support projects that are improving the health and well-being of vulnerable people in Afghanistan, as well as strengthening community resilience to natural disasters in Southeast Asia. The two announcements were made prior to a round table meeting with officials from non-governmental organizations to discuss Canada’s leadership role to date, as well as what concrete actions Canada should take in going forward to improve maternal, newborn and child health.

“Natural disasters and other humanitarian crises are generally unpredictable, but Canada is committed to providing humanitarian assistance to address the needs of those who are affected by such devastating events,” said MP Chisu. “With Canada’s support, not only are basic necessities—such as safe drinking water and sanitation facilities during crises—being met, investments are also being made to reduce the vulnerability of communities where natural disasters are prevalent.”

Afghanistan has been affected by decades of conflict and recurrent natural disasters. The cumulative effect of these crises has left Afghans highly vulnerable, particularly children under the age of five.

“Children in Afghanistan face some of the toughest conditions for survival anywhere in the world,” said Dave Toycen, President and CEO, World Vision Canada. “World Vision is grateful for Canada’s support, which will help provide emergency water, sanitation and hygiene facilities, along with training for teachers, students and community groups. We will also be constructing and rehabilitating clean water sources, including water reservoirs, piping systems and wells, and constructing latrines to support the health and survival of 4,500 families.”

Southeast Asia is one of the world’s most vulnerable regions to natural disasters, including frequent earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, cyclones, floods, landslides and annual monsoons. These devastating events have a more severe and disproportionate impact on vulnerable groups, particularly women and children.

“This contribution from the Government of Canada is helping reduce the impact of national disasters on vulnerable communities in Southeast Asia,” said Conrad Sauvé, Secretary General and CEO of the Canadian Red Cross. “The Canadian Red Cross is dedicated to supporting the growth of Red Cross National Societies in Southeast Asia in order for them to meet the immense challenge of increasingly frequent and devastating emergencies in the region.”

“Canada’s humanitarian and development assistance often focuses on the needs of women and children as they are typically the most vulnerable to and affected by crises,” said Minister Paradis. “Maternal, newborn and child health is particularly at risk during conflicts and natural disasters. Canada has made improving maternal, newborn and child health a top development priority. Our humanitarian partners, such as World Vision Canada and the Canadian Red Cross, are key to meeting the needs of women and children as they help save lives, alleviate suffering, and maintain the dignity of those affected by conflicts and natural disasters.”

The round table meeting held today was part of the consultations being held across the country that were announced by Prime Minister Stephen Harper at the Saving Every Woman, Every Child: Within Arm’s Reach summit, which took place in Toronto on May 28–30, 2014.

Today’s consultation focused on how to ensure that global commitments to improve maternal, newborn, and child health deliver real results to those in need while remaining accountable to Canadian taxpayers. Canada is committed to scaling up interventions that will have the greatest impact, including in the areas of nutrition, vaccinations and newborn health.

Quick Facts

  • In Afghanistan, an estimated 5.4 million people need access to health services, 1.7 million people are in need of protection assistance, and more than 8 million people lack access to nutritious food.
  • Between 2005 and 2010, eight countries in Southeast Asia experienced major disasters that left nearly half a million people dead or missing, and affected more than 17 million others.
  • Typhoon Haiyan, which struck the Philippines on November 8, 2013, caused more than 6,000 deaths and affected 14 million people. The Government of Canada undertook a rapid, lifesaving whole-of-government response, which included $70 million in humanitarian and early recovery assistance.
  • Women and children are often the most vulnerable in a humanitarian crisis. For example, unsafe conditions increase maternal and infant morbidity and mortality. Improving maternal, newborn and child health is a top development priority for the Government of Canada.   
  • On May 28–30, 2014, in Toronto, the Prime Minister hosted the Saving Every Woman, Every Child: Within Arm’s Reach summit. At the summit, Canada committed an additional $3.5 billion to continue support to 2020, and reaffirmed a global consensus on a shared commitment to advance maternal, newborn and child health as a worldwide priority.

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Sandrine Périon
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of International Development and La Francophonie 

Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada
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