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Canadian donations for Myanmar hit $12.5M, government to match funds: Bibeau

Last Updated Dec 13, 2017 at 1:14 pm EDT

In this Oct. 12, 2017, photo, Zahida Begum, left, listens to a Rohingya boy who she helped escape to Bangladesh as she visits him in Thangkhali, Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh. Zahida Begum was only 18 months old when her mother, fleeing Muslim Rohingya persecution in Myanmar, smuggled her in a fishing boat into Bangladesh. When frantic relatives called her in late September to tell her that Myanmar soldiers were burning Rohingya villages and tens of thousands of Rohingya were fleeing, she jumped into action, making calls and raising money to arrange boats to bring 400 people to safety. (AP Photo/Salahuddin Ahmed)

OTTAWA – International Development Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau says Canadians have donated a total of $12.5 million towards easing the refugee crisis in Myanmar, a sum the federal government intends to match.

Bibeau says the federal money will go to humanitarian agencies helping refugees in camps and settlements in Bangladesh and those displaced within Myanmar.

She says an additional 600,000 Rohingya refugees, mostly women and children, have poured into Bangladesh since the end of August, doubling the exodus from Myanmar.

The minister says the federal government has now contributed more than $37.5 million to the crisis so far.

Canada’s aid will go towards addressing the needs of women and girls, including survivors of sexual and gender-based violence, pregnant and nursing women and woman-headed households.

The effort will include sexual and reproductive health services, as well as psycho-social counselling.

“Canadians continue to show themselves to be generous and compassionate people,” Bibeau said in a statement.

“Their contributions will help our partners respond to the increasing humanitarian needs in Myanmar and Bangladesh with a strong focus on meeting the particular needs of women and girls, who have faced the greatest impact of this crisis.”

On October, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau named Bob Rae as a special envoy to Myanmar, charged with reinforcing efforts to resolve the humanitarian and security crisis in Myanmar.