This aid is in addition to the $105 million President Obama announced Monday. The United States is one of the largest donors of emergency assistance to the region, helping more than 4.6 million people in need and providing more than $580 million this year.
East Africa is facing the worst drought in 60 years, placing approximately 12 million people in danger of starvation. Describing this as the “most severe humanitarian crisis in the world today,” Clinton stressed the importance of not only emergency food assistance, but also food security in the region.
“While we hurry to deliver lifesaving assistance, we must also maintain our focus on the future by continuing to invest in long-term food security in countries that are susceptible to drought and food shortages,” she said.
U.S. is providing longer term development assistance through Feed the Future, which has a goal to increase resilience among vulnerable populations by increasing the accessibility of staple foods, reducing trade and transport barriers, harnessing science and technology to assist populations in adapting to erratic weather patterns and supporting efforts to reduce marginalization of certain populations.
Clinton noted the work of scientists cultivating crops that can thrive in drought, the efforts of aid workers in the region and the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET) as a few examples of the tools, resources and people helping to develop food security. She said FEWS NET, which moniters climate and market changes, was able to somewhat brace the international community for the crisis since last September.
“Though food shortages may be triggered by drought, they are not caused by drought, but rather by weak or nonexistent agricultural systems,” she said.
“In other words, a hunger crisis is not solely an act of God, but is a complex problem of infrastructure, governance, markets and education. These are things we can shape and strengthen. That means this is a problem we can solve.”
To read more about the Feed the Future initiative, visit http://www.feedthefuture.gov/.
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