10/05/2011 02:36 EDT | Updated 12/05/2011 05:12 EST

Canadian Money For Africa: Feds Promise To Match $70 Million Raised To Fight Drought


MONTREAL - The federal government says Canadians have donated $70 million to help fight the drought in Africa and that it will keep its promise to match that amount.

International Co-operation Minister Bev Oda said Wednesday the contribution will boost government spending on drought relief to $142 million.

Oda hailed the contribution of Canadians.

"In every major crisis, Canada has, through various channels, helped provide food and needed vitamins and supplements to the victims in need," she told a Montreal conference on food security.

"Once again, it looks like Canadians have demonstrated their compassion and generosity."

The Canadian donations to registered charities were made between early July and mid-September. The dollar figure is only a preliminary estimate, with the final amount still being tabulated.

Oda said she was inspired by the stories she heard during a recent trip to Africa.

"During my visit to the Dadaab camp in Kenya, from what I saw and from the stories I heard from mothers and young girls, I knew that their perseverance and courage must be matched by our willingness to help," she said.

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