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After USAID’s announcement on Tuesday of $127 million in additional funding for nutrition and drought alleviation programs in Ethiopia, Ray Offenheiser, president of humanitarian organization Oxfam America, made the following statement:
“As this devastating drought continues and Somalia's famine approaches the three-month mark, Oxfam commends the United States for leading the way in its funding commitments to the Horn of Africa. This week’s announcement by USAID of $127 million for nutrition and drought alleviation in Ethiopia is not only welcomed because millions of lives are at stake in the region but because it will also go towards longer term efforts, such as Feed the Future and global health initiative programs that are working to break the cycle of drought and malnutrition."
“US assistance to the Horn of Africa, which totals nearly $650 million, is setting the example for a sustained effort that underscores the importance of a long-term drought response – the only route to full recovery, resilience, and continued protection. Preserving livelihoods such as agriculture and pastoralism, and investing in prevention and preparedness are critical steps that must be taken to improve the ability of communities to respond to reoccurring droughts in the future.
“However, proposed cuts to the foreign affairs budget and the continued legal restrictions on humanitarian organizations in Somalia risk undermining US leadership. These restrictions must be lifted, Congress must fully fund the foreign assistance accounts, and USAID must be given the required funding to fully implement Feed the Future. The United States has been ahead of the curve as a donor. Oxfam urges the United States to continue and other donors to follow suit, by providing immediate emergency funding while also investing in long-term initiatives.”
“The current crisis shows no sign of easing and drought will hit East Africa again. But if communities are prepared, lives, and money will be saved. It is time for everyone to step up – not only to save lives today, but to make sure this doesn’t happen again.”