Oxfam welcomes the Government of Canada’s Emergency Relief Fund for the Syrian Refugee Crisis

Oxfam welcomed the Government of Canada’s announcement of a $100 million matching fund program for the Syrian Refugee Crisis.

Ann Witteveen, Humanitarian Manager for Oxfam Canada, said: “The tragic photo of drowned three-year-old Syrian boy Alan Kurdi has reminded us all that the situation in Syria continues to worsen, and that more must be done to help. The Syria Emergency Relief Fund will double the power of donations from generous Canadians, and help humanitarian agencies like Oxfam go further in providing life-saving support to those trapped inside Syria’s war zones, and to the millions of refugees hosted in neighbouring countries, many in desperate need of shelter, healthcare, food and water.”

“This is the largest humanitarian crisis in the world,” added Witteveen. “More than 200,000 people have lost their lives, over six million people have fled their homes and over four million refugees are living in neighbouring countries including Lebanon and Jordan.”

“Life in the refugee camps, is not easy. It is a life of poverty, with inadequate water and sanitation services, limited healthcare and education, and few opportunities. Women and children are particularly at risk of violence, including forced child marriage and rape.”

On the ground since the beginning of the crisis, Oxfam has already reached over 1.5 million people impacted by the crisis. The international aid agency is providing affected people inside Syria with clean water and emergency sanitation services, and providing refugees in Lebanon and Jordan with clean drinking water, emergency toilets, and cash and relief supplies such as blankets, stoves and vouchers for essential supplies.

Speaking to the situation in Canada, Witteveen said: “Canada is being generous in providing much needed aid to people within Syria and those displaced to neighbouring countries. However, as the number of refugees continues to grow and conflict spreads to other countries in the region, our Government must step-up diplomatic efforts to help find a peaceful solution to this horrific humanitarian crisis and accelerate the resettlement of Syrian refugees to Canada.”

For interviews with spokespeople in Canada, and on the ground in Jordan and Lebanon:
Melanie Gallant
Media Relations Officer
Tel: 613-240-3047

Notes to editors: 

  • Oxfam Canada is accepting donations for the Syrian refugee crisis online at //www.oxfam.ca/syriacrisis, and toll free at 1-800-466-9326.
  • The Government of Canada will match every eligible dollar donated by individual Canadians to registered Canadian charities in response to the impact of the conflict in Syria, up to $100 million, effective immediately until December 31, 2015. For more information on the Syria Emergency Relief fund is available at https://www.international.gc.ca/development-developpement/humanitarian_response-situations_crises/fund_syria-syrie_fonds.aspx?lang=eng
  • Oxfam is a recognized leader in humanitarian response, renowned for its ability to quickly and efficiently provide clean water and sanitation facilities, and ensuring that those affected have access to food, basic necessities, shelter, education, health and hygiene.
  • Oxfam places special emphasis on ensuring women and girl’s needs are taken into account when setting up these essential services, and has adopted 16 minimum standards designed to increase women’s participation, dignity and empowerment to prevent violence against women in emergencies.

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