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Ottawa to provide $132 million to help people fleeing civil war in Sudan

Minister of International Development Ahmed Hussen is shown on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, on Friday, March 22, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

OTTAWA — Canada will provide $132 million in aid for people fleeing Sudan's yearlong civil war and facing "famine-like conditions," International Development Minister Ahmed Hussen said Friday.

"The sheer scale of the needs, the displacement and the looming hunger really defines Sudan as the crisis of our time," Hussen said at an announcement in Toronto.

"This cannot become the forgotten crisis, so we must continue to support the people of Sudan."

The funding includes just over $100 million in humanitarian aid for Sudanese who have fled to neighbouring countries, as well as those stuck in Sudan amid widescale violence.

That aid includes housing, shelter and sanitation services for the more than 8.5 million people who have been displaced since duelling factions of Sudan's military wings started fighting in the streets of Khartoum.

"We're looking at looming famine-like conditions. Almost 25 million people, including 11 million children, are now in desperate need of humanitarian aid," Hussen told reporters.

He said the rest of the funding will go toward development projects, with a focus on sexual and reproductive health for women in Sudan and South Sudan, and other projects in the Central African Republic, Chad and Ethiopia.

The Liberals insist they are deeply concerned about the crisis in Sudan, but have faced mounting criticism for not following peers in issuing sanctions on those supporting warlords.

The NDP has been calling on the Liberals for months to exert diplomatic pressure on those fueling the crisis. Green Deputy Leader Jonathan Pedneault said in a letter Thursday that global impunity during the Darfur genocide, which started in Sudan in 2003, is now being replicated as Sudanese starve.

The announcement comes ahead of a conference in Paris on Monday — the one-year anniversary of the conflict — aimed at getting the world closer to meeting the humanitarian needs created by the crisis.

The United Nations says Sudan needs US$2.7 billion to deal with humanitarian needs but has received just six per cent of that target.

Hussen's office says Canada plans to participate in the conference in Paris, but has not said who will attend the event, which occurs on the eve of the federal budget release.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 12, 2024.

Dylan Robertson, The Canadian Press

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