Dear Residents of Vaughan,
I ask you today to look to your compassionate side and consider helping the people of East Africa who are truly in a time of need. We are privileged to live in a country where we can take for granted access to food and water. For too many people around the world this is simply not the case.
You have probably heard about the terrible drought in East Africa. Life for those living there has become a daily struggle to find food for their families. Already tens of thousands have died, and millions of people are at risk. In refugee camps where people have gathered in search of assistance, reports tell of children so malnourished that they are too weak even to cry.
My friend and colleague Minister Bev Oda on July 22nd visited the Dadaab refugee camps in east Africa. In this region alone there are more than 377,000 refugees who have sought shelter and some 1,800 more arrive per day.
As part of our commitment to providing humanitarian care and relief to those in need we have announced that the Harper Government will provide $72 million in assistance and establish the East Africa Drought Relief Fund to help victims of the severe drought now affecting approximately 11 million people in East Africa. Members of the Government, including myself, have and continue to contribute financially to the relief efforts. I encourage residents of Vaughan to do the same.
Our Government has created a matching fund program for East Africa. For every dollar donated over a 10-week period (retroactive to July 6, 2011 and ending September 16, 2011) to a registered Canadian charity responding to the drought in East Africa, the Government will contribute an equivalent amount to the East Africa Drought Relief Fund. That means that any dollar you donate will go twice as far towards helping those in need.
Below are registered Canadian Charities responding to the crisis in east Africa that have agreed not to work with the recognized terrorist organization Al-Shabaab:
World Food Programme
I urge you consider helping these suffering people.