Ottawa (AFP) - Canada's government pledged Can$120 million (US$90 million, 84 million euros) Friday to help relieve food crises in four countries where 20 million people face starvation and famine.
The funding for afflicted populations in Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen came a week after the United Nations launched an urgent appeal for $4.4 billion in aid by July to "avert a catastrophe" in the region.
"It is a human tragedy that the situation has deteriorated to the extent where we have over 20 million people facing starvation," said international development minister Marie-Claude Bibeau.
"This assistance will be disbursed immediately to the most affected areas. We urge all actors in the affected countries to facilitate humanitarian access so that assistance can reach those most in need."
The UN has warned that the world is facing its worst humanitarian crisis since the end of World War II because of the food crisis, brought on by conflicts in northeastern Nigeria, South Sudan and Yemen, as well as a severe drought in Somalia.
Famine has already been declared in parts of South Sudan.
Canada said its funding would take into account the specific needs of women and children, and include the provision of food, healthcare services, clean water and sanitation facilities.