CARE Canada Press Release & Letters


Four metric tonnes of urgently needed, protein rich food donated by VitaPro Foods Inc. of Montreal and Muhammad Ali's Champions for Children will be distributed tomorrow in Kisangani, Zaire to Rwandan refugees who recently returned after fleeing their camps last week. The delivery of the food, which will provide 150,000 to 200,000 meals, was coordinated by CARE Canada.

Many of the refugees are ill and malnourished, and in desperate need of food to repair their fragile health. The VitaPro donation of dehydrated vegetable protein is being welcomed by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) because it will provide a hot, nutritious meal for thousands of refugees who need to regain their strength before boarding planes that are standing by to airlift them home to Rwanda.

The VitaPro donation is arriving at a critical time said Stephen Blight of the Emergency Response Unit at CARE Canada. The refugees are in rough shape, and in no condition to receive normal dry rations. They don't have the strength to cook their own meals. Getting a hot, protein rich meal through community kitchens will be an important first step in restoring their health.

CARE Canada field staff will be on-hand to monitor the distribution of the food and should be available for interviews tomorrow.

Last week in Geneva, CARE joined a number of agencies in supporting UNHCR's call for an urgent airlift of refugees out of eastern Zaire. Since the airlift was approved by the Alliance of Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Congo-Zaire (ADFL) on April 5, access to the refugees has been limited due to a number of security incidents. Tens of thousands of refugees abandoned the camps in recent weeks in the face of attacks and looting. The ADFL has set a 60 day deadline from April 29 for the repatriation of all refugees, a deadline that the UN says will be almost impossible to meet.

CARE is continuing to work through various programs with refugees and local populations in eastern Zaire, helping them return to their homes and re-establish their lives.

Fore more information on CARE, or to arrange an interview with CARE staff, please contact Heather Rourke at (613) 228-5646 or Daniel Aubin at (514) 676-5550. More information on VitaPro can be found on their website at

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