The United States continues to be deeply concerned by the humanitarian emergency in the Horn of Africa, and particularly the hard-hit Somali population. Despite the end of famine conditions in February, nearly 10 million people in the region still require humanitarian assistance. For this reason, the United States government is providing an additional nearly $50 million in aid for refugees and drought-affected communities in Somalia, Ethiopia, and Kenya in addition to what we have already provided. As Secretary Clinton announced April 3rd, since early in 2011 “the United States has provided almost $1 billion in humanitarian assistance that has saved countless lives from malnutrition, starvation, and disease. And our sustained commitment has demonstrated the best of America, helping to undermine the extremist narrative of terrorist groups like al-Shabaab in Somalia.”
The Famine Early Warning System Network (FEWS NET) stated April 3, 2012 that the March-May rains in the eastern Horn of Africa will not be adequate. Poor rains would likely negatively affect food security in a region still recovering from a devastating drought and famine in 2011. The United States remains committed to breaking the cycle of hunger and famine in the Horn of Africa and to this end will continue to provide humanitarian assistance to those in need and call on others to join it in supporting the UN’s $1.5 billion 2012 Consolidated Appeal for Somalia. This appeal is currently funded at only $179 million. We encourage all donors to take additional steps to tackle both immediate assistance needs and strengthen capacity in the region to mitigate future crises.
In addition to our emergency assistance, the United States is leading efforts to address the root causes of hunger and food insecurity by improving agricultural systems in the Horn of Africa under the Feed the Future initiative. As part of these efforts, yesterday in Nairobi, Kenya USAID Administrator Dr. Rajiv Shah participated in a high-level forum on strengthening the resilience of vulnerable communities to drought in the Horn of Africa. The forum brings together African and international development leaders who are committed to working together in new ways to prevent future humanitarian crises related to drought.