A boy eats out of a ladle at his home in Ngop in South Sudan’s Unity State on March 10, 2017.

A boy eats out of a ladle at his home in Ngop in South Sudan’s Unity State on March 10, 2017.

Canada provides $19.8M to fight hunger in sub-Saharan Africa

The federal government announced $19.8 million in new funding Thursday to help millions of people in sub-Saharan Africa ravaged by severe drought and conflict deal with “extreme levels of food insecurity.”

Canada’s ambassador to the United Nations Marc-André Blanchard said the funding will save lives, alleviate suffering and bring relief to millions in urgent need of assistance in Cameroon, Chad, Ethiopia, Niger, Nigeria, South Sudan and Uganda.

The funding will be divided among nine humanitarian groups and UN agencies working to respond to critical humanitarian needs in the region such as emergency food, potable water and sanitation systems, healthcare, shelter and protection for vulnerable groups, particularly women and children.

The new funding comes on top of nearly to $120 million in humanitarian funding announced by Canada in March in response to severe food crises in Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen.

Ordinary Canadians also donated over $21.3 million as part of the Famine Relief Fund matched by the federal government in August in response to humanitarian crises affecting over 55 million people in Yemen and across Africa.

Adverse climatic conditions, a sluggish global economy and conflicts are key factors driving food insecurity in sub-Saharan Africa, according to the United Nations agriculture agency.

In its 2017 Africa Regional Overview of Food Security and Nutrition report, the Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO), showed that chronic undernourishment appears to have risen from 20.8 to 22.7 per cent between 2015 and 2016.

“Major factors have caused this surge in hunger: the proportion of the population that has experienced severe food insecurity because of their inability to access food has risen in the region,” said Bukar Tijani, FAO Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative for Africa. “As well, adverse climatic conditions and conflict, often occurring concurrently, are key factors driving the recent increase in food insecurity in the region.”

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