Statement by the Press Secretary on the Horn of Africa Humanitarian Crisis
The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
April 24, 2012
In 2011, the worst drought in 60 years struck the Horn of Africa. The United Nations declared famine in six regions of Somalia, threatening the lives of over 250,000 Somalis, and requiring urgent humanitarian assistance for more than 13.3 million people in Ethiopia, Kenya and other parts of Somalia. The international community responded and famine conditions abated in January 2012. Nevertheless, today, more than 9 million people still remain in need of emergency assistance in Horn of Africa.
To prevent a worsening of the fragile humanitarian situation and more people requiring emergency aid, the United States Government is providing an additional $120 million to those in need of emergency assistance in the Horn of Africa. This assistance is targeted to avoid the crisis from escalating in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia where the lateness and insufficiency of rains are expected to have a significant negative impact on crop production. We commend Ethiopia and Kenya for building the resiliency of their nations to mitigate the shock of food insecurity and drought, as well as their effort to host and provide a safe place for Somali refugees. This contribution brings the total U.S. assistance for the drought and famine in the Horn of Africa to more than $1.1 billion since the crisis began in 2011.
We urge the international community to continue their support and assistance to those in need of emergency assistance in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia with the objective of building resiliency in order to save lives.
Counter Piracy: Global Community Gathers to Take Action
About the Author: Thomas P. Kelly serves as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs.
In March, the United States turned over to the Republic of Seychelles 15 suspected Somali pirates for prosecution in connection with an attempted January 5 attack on the M/V Sunshine in the northern Arabian Sea and the abduction of 13 Iranian mariners rescued by the U.S. Navy aboard their captured fishing vessel Al Molai. The successful resolution of this incident marks another step forward in working with our international partners to see that pirates are brought to justice and underscores our ongoing commitment to promoting freedom of navigation worldwide.
As part of the United States’ commitment to working with the international community in countering piracy, I traveled last week to New… more »
Increase in U.S. Funding to Drought Relief in the Horn of Africa
Office of the Spokesperson
April 5, 2012
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.
Travel Diary: Secretary Clinton Participates in London Conference on Somalia
More: Interactive Travel Map | Trip Page | Special Briefing To Preview Conference on Somalia
Today, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton joined heads of state and foreign ministers from over 50 countries, as well as representatives of the United Nations and the African Union, at the London Conference on Somalia. Hosted by UK Prime Minister David Cameron, the conference is dedicated to building stability and peace in Somalia. Secretary Clinton discussed the importance of cutting al-Shabaab’s remaining financial lifelines, strengthening development and fighting piracy.… more »
FWD the Facts About Famine, War, and Drought in the Horn of Africa
About the Author: Dr. Rajiv Shah serves as Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development.
As many of you know, the worst drought in 60 years has devastated communities throughout the Horn of Africa, leaving more than 13 million people in a state of crisis — greater than the population of Los Angeles and New York combined.
In Somalia — where 20 years of war and violence has limited humanitarian access and destroyed the country’s ability to respond — the drought has led to an outbreak of famine. According to UNICEF, as a result of this crisis, a child is dying in Somalia every six minutes.
The millions suffering from the effects of this crisis are facing incomprehensible suffering. Left with nothing, many are walking more than 100 miles toward refugee camps in Kenya and Ethiopia.
Because the crisis in the Horn is so complex and because the scale is so difficult to comprehend, we have not seen people come together to respond in… more »
An Update on the U.S. Response to the Humanitarian Crisis in the Horn of Africa
More than 12.7 million people—primarily in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia—are in need of emergency assistance in the Horn of Africa. The United States is deeply concerned by the humanitarian emergency in the Horn of Africa, the famine that is occurring in parts of Somalia, the ongoing conflict within Somalia, and the escalating refugee crisis across the region. A large-scale international response is underway to prevent the further decline of an already dire situation, but there will be no quick fix. The U.S. is the largest donor of humanitarian assistance to the region, now providing over $600 million in life-saving humanitarian assistance to those in need. This funding supports humanitarian assistance to refugees, internally displaced persons (IDPs), and other drought affected populations. Because emergency assistance will not solve the underlying problems in the region, the U.S.… more »
Famine Spreads in Somalia
About the Author: Nancy Lindborg is USAID’s Assistant Administrator for the Bureau for Democracy, Conflict and Humanitarian Assistance.
Today the U.N. declared ongoing famine in the Bay Region, adding to the five areas in southern Somalia already facing famine conditions. The U.N. also increased the number of Somalis in crisis to 4 million and says that 750,000 are at risk of death in the coming months in the absence of an adequate humanitarian response.
The unfortunate reality is that Somalia is the most difficult operating environment for humanitarians in the world today. Access continues to be denied by Al-Shabaab and other armed groups, creating an indefensible situation where they would rather put hundreds of thousands of Somali lives in jeopardy than allow humanitarian aid in. The massive amount of humanitarian aid required to save tens of thousands of lives simply cannot reach those in Bay Region and other areas in southern Somalia.
You might be wondering why people don’t just leave… more »
U.S. Increases Assistance to the Horn of Africa
Yesterday, Dr. Rajiv Shah, the Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development, announced an increase in U.S. humanitarian assistance to East Africa. In total, the United States is now providing more than $600 million in aid that is helping more than 4.6 million people suffering from drought and famine in the Horn of Africa.
“I am happy to announce over $23 million in additional U.S. funding, including nearly $10 million expressly for Somalia,” said Dr. Shah at a community forum hosted by Congressman Keith Ellison at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. Speaking to forum attendees, Dr. Shah reaffirmed the United States commitment to addressing today’s crisis and working toward long-term solutions in the Horn of Africa.
Other forum participants included U.S. House of Representatives Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Congressman Tim Walz,… more »
“African Solutions for African Problems”
About the Authors: Michael Battle serves as U.S. Ambassador to the African Union and the U.N. Economic Commission for Africa, and Ertharin Cousin serves as U.S. Representative to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Agencies in Rome.
We congratulate the African Union (AU) for calling together African Nations to demonstrate their support as partners with the international community to address the serious drought and famine facing the Horn of Africa. At an AU-organized pledging conference last week, Africans also expressed their deep appreciation to the international community for its overwhelming continued support to humanitarian relief as well as to assisting the African continent build capacity for addressing future crises.
The African Union has been using the phrase, “African Solutions for African Problems,” to mean that Africa as a continent must endeavor to be full partners in addressing African problems. The African Union has never suggested that it wants to solve its problems in isolation from the international community rather it has consistently asserted that it wants to insert African… more »