April 13, 2007 09:19 ET

CIDA: Canada Supports Humanitarian Aid Efforts in Afghanistan

KANDAHAR, AFGHANISTAN--(CCNMatthews - April 13, 2007) - The Honourable Josee Verner, Minister of International Cooperation and Minister for La Francophonie and Official Languages, announced that Canada will contribute up to $10 million for food aid and humanitarian assistance to refugees and internally displaced people in Afghanistan.

Minister Verner made the announcement in Kandahar, following meetings with representatives of the World Food Program (WFP) and the Office of the United Nations Human Rights Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to discuss the plight of the most vulnerable in refugee camps along Afghanistan's border with Pakistan. The funds will be provided by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA).

"Canada's New Government is helping to make a difference for those who lack shelter and who are suffering from food shortages," Minister Verner said. "By working with our long-standing and trusted partners, we are assisting the people who are most in need, as quickly as possible."

Canada will contribute:

up to $5 million to the WFP to help over 3.4 million Afghans through programs such as food for work, training and education. The WFP works with the Government of Afghanistan, non-government partners and local communities to ensure that priority is given to the most vulnerable, including poor and food-insecure households, the internally displaced, tuberculosis patients and their families, school children, teachers and illiterate people. This brings Canada's contribution to the WFP's emergency food assistance efforts in Afghanistan to $13.9 million for the fiscal year 2006-07.

up to $5 million to the UNHCR for immediate assistance to returning refugees and internally displaced people within Afghanistan. The UNHCR works in cooperation with Afghanistan's Ministry of Refugees and Repatriation, as well as the Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development, to ensure that the most vulnerable people are assisted with shelter, small grants for food and fuel, as well as with help to reintegrate into the local population.

For more information on Canada's reconstruction and development program in Afghanistan, please visit:



Canada is contributing up to $10 million for food aid and humanitarian assistance to refugees and internally displaced people in Afghanistan and in the region.

Afghanistan has some of the poorest social indicators in the world. While more than three million Afghans remain in Pakistan and the Islamic Republic of Iran, the gradual improvement of conditions in Afghanistan and changes in policy affecting Afghans in countries of asylum are prompting people to return. The World Food Program (WFP) and the Office of the United Nations Human Rights Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) estimate that some 400,000 refugees will return this year: 300,000 from Pakistan and 100,000 from Iran.

Canada's contribution to the UNHCR

The Government of Canada will contribute $5 million to the UNHCR's $80 million appeal to support the return of refugees. The contribution will:

- allow the UNHCR work with the Ministry of Refugees and Rehabilitation to provide more training, technical assistance and financial support. This will include providing women at risk with assistance to cover their immediate needs;

- help to strengthen the capacity of the Ministry for Women's Affairs, the Ministry of Refugees and Rehabilitation, among others, to identify and assist extremely vulnerable people, particularly women and girls;

- contribute to addressing the returnees' legal issues, providing them with shelter in the areas of return, and distributing land to establish homes for landless returnees and internally displaced persons;

- help provide shelter assistance to 14,000 of the most vulnerable families, including supporting the establishment of an Employment Service Centre to help returnees find jobs. The situation of returnees will be monitored and legal aid will be provided to them and to internally displaced persons, and;

- enable the UNHCR to continue to help refugee communities to assume more responsibilities in the management of water supplies, health care and education.

Canada's contribution to the WFP

The Government of Canada will contribute $5 million the WFP's 2007 Appeal, which aims to enhance food security in food-insecure and remote areas, with emphasis on vulnerable women and children. The contribution will:

- help support over 3 million Afghans in food-insecure areas through various activities, including food for work, food for training and food for education in partnership with the government, non-government partners and communities;

- support initiatives such as food for work and for training that will address short-term hunger and provide incentives for increasing enrolment and attendance, with a special focus on girls and teachers (particularly women), and for imparting literacy and life skills to targeted participants. It will also encourage patients with tuberculosis and their families to seek and continue treatment while enhancing their nutritional status. Furthermore, it will improve the capacity of vulnerable households to manage short-term food shortages and meet their food needs during and after disasters;

- support the humanitarian response to the devastating spring floods in Afghanistan. The WFP has already managed to deliver 1,000 tonnes of emergency rations, enough to feed 60,000 victims of the rising waters for 30 days.

Contact Information

  • Office of the Minister of International Cooperation
    Nicole Lascelle
    Director of Communications
    Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)
    Media Relations Office
    819-953-6534 (electronic version of document)