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Canada announces typhoon-aid recipients, clarifies pledge

International Development Minister Christian Paradis delivers opening remarks at a briefing on Canada’s response to Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines on Nov. 14, 2013.

Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press

The federal government has announced the recipients of its first $20-million in Philippine disaster relief aid, while clarifying precisely how much money it has pledged.

Twelve domestic and international aid groups will receive funds, International Development Minister Christian Paradis said on Tuesday. The groups said the money will go toward helping those injured, displaced or otherwise affected by Typhoon Haiyan.

Meanwhile, the total value of the federal government's pledge is $25-million, lower than what had earlier been suggested.

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Shortly after Typhoon Haiyan struck, Canada pledged $5-million, and said it would match Canadians' private donations. On Monday, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced an "additional" $15-million, which he said "quadrupled" Canada's cash contributions so far.

It was widely interpreted as new funding on Monday. A written version of the announcement listed all three facets – the initial $5-million, Monday's $15-million and the "matching" fund – separately, and called Monday's pledge "additional" money. Mr. Paradis told the House of Commons that Canada "will commit an additional $15-million toward emergency relief activities."

At the time, Canadians' private donations were $19.8-million, which the government had committed to match. Mr. Paradis appeared to cite this, saying the $15-million "brings Canada's commitment to nearly $40-million so far" – the apparent total of the initial $5-million, Monday's $15-million and the government's "matching" $19.8-million.

But Monday's $15-million was not new money.

"The $15-million that was announced yesterday is part of the matching fund," Mr. Paradis said on Tuesday. This means the aid is closer to $25-million: $5-million initially, plus matching at least $19.8-million, including the $15-million. A spokesman for Mr. Harper confirmed on Tuesday the $15-million applies to the matching donation.

Asked Tuesday about why he told the House "nearly $40-million," Mr. Paradis said he was including the private donations of Canadians. That, however, is about $44.6-million.

The government's total nonetheless remains unclear. Canada will match donations made until Dec. 9. The government has also sent, as of Monday evening, 301 soldiers to the Philippines, but does not know what that will cost.

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Twelve aid groups got federal funding. The UN's World Food Programme will get $4-million; UNICEF will receive $3-million; the Red Cross, the International Organization for Migration and World Vision Canada will receive $2-million each; Oxfam Canada and Plan Canada will each get $1.5-million; Doctors Without Borders, CARE Canada and Save the Children Canada will each get $1-million; the World Health Organization will get $800,000; and the UN's Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs will get $200,000.

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