New funds to help Rohingya, Syrian and Venezuelan refugees

Development and Peace — Caritas Canada will receive $3.9 million from the Government of Canada’s response to annual humanitarian appeals. This amount is part of a $75-million package allotted to 22 organizations through a highly competitive selection process.

These organizations, accredited by Global Affairs Canada, had submitted funding appeals based on their assessments of needs. Even before the pandemic hit, 168 million people worldwide were estimated to need humanitarian assistance in 2020.

This funding will let Development and Peace continue helping people affected by war, hunger and forced migration through local partnerships, an approach that ensures the full participation of and the delivery of aid to even the most isolated communities.

“We are deeply grateful to the government and people of Canada,” said Stéphane Vinhas, Development and Peace’s International Emergency Relief Coordinator, adding, “This money will help support vulnerable refugee groups facing the most acute ongoing crises in South Asia, the Middle East and South America.”

The Rohingya crisis: safe spaces, capable communities

Of the new money, $1 million will go to a one-year Caritas Bangladesh project for Rohingya refugees in Cox’s Bazar. The community-based project will provide culturally sensitive training and requisite materials to enable participants to conceive and build stronger, safer, more gender-sensitive shelters; and cleaner, healthier camp surroundings. Besides improving their living conditions and making their communities more resilient to natural disasters, the project will help over 8,200 refugees reclaim a sense of dignity, agency and self-reliance.

The Syrian crisis: primary care for a people in peril

A $2-million allocation will go a two-year project run by our partner, Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) in Syria. The recently flared-up Syrian conflict has displaced nearly 6.5 million people internally1. Having often fled with just the clothes on their backs, many Syrians live in danger and destitution in ravaged cities. To 22,000 such people in Aleppo, JRS will provide basic general health, paediatric and gynaecological care.

The Venezuelan crisis: complex needs, comprehensive response

Many of Venezuela’s 4.5 million refugees and migrants2 ended up in Colombia, straining impoverished host communities. To meet their complex needs, we will provide $900,000 to a one-year project by the National Secretariat of Pastoral Social – Caritas Colombia. The project will provide shelter; hygiene kits; transport subsidies; basic healthcare for mothers and children; and legal advice to migrants, 60 per cent of whom are women. A fifth of the project’s activities will focus on host communities’ needs.

“As significant as this work is, it is far from enough,” Vinhas noted. “To recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, the world’s poorest people will need more help than ever before. We hope Canada and Canadians will respond generously.”

1) Per data from the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, as of December 31, 2019.
2) Per data from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, as of June 2019.

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