The U.S. has announced about 533 million dollars in humanitarian assistance for Nigeria, Ethiopia, Somalia, and South Sudan, as well as countries in the Lake Chad region.
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said millions of people were facing life-threatening food insecurity and malnutrition as a result of ongoing conflict or prolonged drought in the countries.
Of the newly announced funds, more than $128 million is for affected populations from Nigeria and countries in the Lake Chad region.
About $184 million is for affected populations from South Sudan and more than $110 million for affected populations from Ethiopia.
The humanitarian assistance includes more than $110 million for affected populations from Somalia.
Tillerson said: “today I’m announcing $533 million in additional humanitarian assistance to fight famine and food insecurity and address other needs resulting from conflicts in Somalia, South Sudan, Ethiopia, and the Lake Chad Basin.
“The alarming levels of hunger in these areas are largely man-made, as conflicts erupt and people flee their homes.
“Under these conditions, people cannot produce crops and often lose access altogether to food, education, and health care. Many lose everything. And regrettably, Mother Nature can still be cruel, such as in the Horn of Africa, where a prolonged drought is contributing to grave food insecurity”.
According to him, these additional funds will provide emergency food, nutrition assistance, and other aid. This includes safe drinking water, thousands of tons of food, and deliver health programs to prevent the spread of deadly diseases like cholera to millions of people, he said adding “This will save lives”.
“The American people, as we always have been, are there to partner with African countries to ensure their most vulnerable populations receive life-saving assistance. We also call upon others to join us in meeting the growing humanitarian needs in Africa. We hope these initial contributions will encourage others to contribute aid to increase burden sharing and meet the growing humanitarian needs in Africa. However, this assistance will not solve these ongoing conflicts, but only buy us time – time to pursue diplomatic solutions,” Tillerson stressed.
According to him, ultimately it is up to the leaders in these countries, particularly in South Sudan, to stop the violence and put the welfare of their citizens at the forefront of their actions. He said millions would continue to be at risk as long as parties to these conflicts continue to engage in violence, calling on all parties to allow aid workers safe and unhindered access to help communities in need.
The U.S. is the largest donor of humanitarian assistance for these crises in Africa, providing nearly three billion dollars since the beginning of Fiscal Year 2017.