From: The Honorable Keith Ellison
Sent By:
brieana.marticorena@mail.house.gov

Date: 3/28/2017

SUPPORT USAID FUNDING TO FIGHT FAMINE IN EAST AFRICA 

The deadline to sign is 2pm Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Dear Colleague:

Please join us in supporting robust USAID funding for humanitarian efforts and aid in East Africa, particularly for USAID’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA), USAID’s Office of Food for Peace (FFP), and State’s Migration and Refugee Assistance
(MRA) accounts.

As you may know, communities in South Sudan and the Horn of Africa region, particularly in Somalia, Ethiopia, and Kenya, face severe drought conditions and food insecurity after consecutive years of below-average rainfall. An estimated 6.2 million people
in Somalia—more than half the total population—currently require humanitarian assistance due to the combined effects of the drought and ongoing conflict. Some 4.9 million South Sudanese, approximately 40 percent of the population, are on the brink of starvation.
Approximately 5.6 million people in Ethiopia are expected to require food assistance in 2017 and additional 2.6 million people in Kenya face food insecurity due to drought.

Furthermore, as safe water resources dry up across the region, water-borne diseases are on the rise. Between January 1, 2017 and February 23, 2017, Somalia’s Ministry of Health recorded nearly 4,900 suspected and confirmed cases of cholera and 66 related
deaths.

The United States Government has the opportunity to respond and advance humanitarian aid to millions of individuals living under threat of extreme duress. Given the scale of the humanitarian crisis this year, the region will likely continue to need robust
U.S. aid into FY2018.

I thus ask you to join us in urging the Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs to provide robust USAID funding for humanitarian efforts and aid in East Africa. Please contact Brieana Marticorena at brieana.marticorena@mail.house.gov
if you would like to sign the letter. The deadline to sign is 2pm Wednesday, March 29, 2017.

Sincerely,

/s/                                                                  /s/

Keith Ellison                                                   Karen Bass

Member of Congress                                       Member of Congress

 

March 30, 2017

 

Dear Chair Rogers and Ranking Member Lowey:

We write to request that you prioritize USAID funding for humanitarian efforts and aid in East Africa, particularly for USAID’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA), USAID’s Office of Food for Peace (FFP), and State’s Migration and Refugee Assistance
(MRA) accounts. Through our assistance, the United States will expand its leadership in much-needed humanitarian efforts and assistance in this region during a time of crisis.

Communities the Horn of Africa region, particularly in Somalia, Ethiopia, and Kenya, face severe drought conditions and food insecurity after consecutive years of below-average rainfall, significantly reduced agricultural harvests, and overall limited access
to food.  In early February 2017, the UN World Food Program internally designated the Horn of Africa drought emergency a Level 2 Response due to increased humanitarian needs in the region.

In Somalia, the government has declared a national disaster due to drought. An estimated 6.2 million people in Somalia—more than half the total population—currently require humanitarian assistance due to the combined effects of the drought and ongoing conflict.
2.9 million people are experiencing crisis or emergency levels of acute food insecurity. In addition, the International Organization for Migration found that majority of the 138,000 internally displaced persons who registered in Somalia from January 1–February
26, 2017 relocated due to inadequate rains and resultant crop failures.

The UN’s Humanitarian Country Team for Somalia has released an Operational Plan for Famine Prevention, requesting $825 million to assist 5.5 million drought-affected people between January and June 2017. The plan is specifically designed to mitigate the
rapidly deteriorating humanitarian situation in Somalia during the drought by providing vulnerable and displaced populations with food, water, and relief items, as well as emergency health, nutrition, and water, sanitation, and hygiene services. The plan would
extend humanitarian assistance to rural populations and enhances response capacity in urban environments.

As safe water resources dry up across the region, water-borne diseases are on the rise. Between January 1, 2017 and February 23, 2017, Somalia’s Ministry of Health recorded nearly 4,900 suspected and confirmed cases of cholera and 66 related deaths. Somalia’s
Ministry of Health and the UN World Health Organization (WHO) also reported more than 8,430 suspected and confirmed cases of acute watery diarrhea – a key symptom and proxy indicator of cholera – and nearly 210 related deaths.

In addition to Somalia, drought is also affecting the southern and southeastern parts of Ethiopia. The Ethiopian government anticipates that approximately 5.6 million people will require food assistance in 2017. The Ethiopian government also estimates that
more than 146,000 people in the Somali region alone are currently displaced due to drought.

Despite the need, the UN projects that portions of the food pipelines assisting with drought response in Ethiopia will experience partial gaps in May 2017 if donors do not provide additional support. Approximately $349 million is needed to ensure continuity
of the food pipelines for the remainder of the year.

Drought is also affecting the arid lands in Kenya. The Government of Kenya estimates that 2.6 million people face food insecurity due to drought and an additional 400,000 plus Kenyan children younger than five years old are acutely malnourished. The Kenyan
government declared a national disaster on February 10, noting that drought conditions were affecting 23 counties and parts of other areas.

We have also seen a surge in famine conditions in South Sudan, where some 4.9 million South Sudanese, approximately forty percent of the population, are literally on the brink of starvation and 7.5 million are in need of humanitarian aid. On February 20,
2017, the United Nations announced that in excess of 100,000 people in Unity State, South Sudan, are facing famine. To make matters worse, some people die as a result of inability humanitarian organizations to gain access to them. According to the United Nations,
because of ongoing fighting and the high degree of food insecurity in the country, more than 2.5 million people have become refugees in neighboring countries.

In early March, UN Secretary-General António Guterres called for international assistance to avoid a famine in Somalia, the most severely affected country in the Horn of Africa region. The United States Government has the opportunity to respond and advance
humanitarian aid to millions of individuals living under threat of extreme duress. Too many families, seniors, newborns, and children die a slow, painful death, as a result of insufficient access to nutritional food. Given the scale of the humanitarian crisis
this year, it is reasonable to expect that the region will continue to need enhanced U.S. aid into FY2018.

Thank you for considering providing the robust funding for State’s and USAID’s humanitarian efforts in East Africa for Fiscal Year 2018. I look forward to working with you to craft a FY2018 State Foreign Operations Appropriations bill that demonstrates U.S.
leadership and compassion.

Sincerely,

/s/                                                                    /s/

Keith Ellison                                                   Karen Bass

Member of Congress                                       Member of Congress