Famine in the Horn of Africa (Somalia, portions of Ethiopia and Kenya) was officially declared by the United Nations on Wednesday, July 20, 2011. Over 11 million people, primarily women, young children, and the elderly, are at great risk of dying in this complex crisis over the next two to six months.
CHC board co-chair, Representative Jim McGovern, spoke powerfully on the House Floor about the U.S. responsibility to lead the effort to fight this famine. View his House Floor speech here.
While the U.S. indeed faces budget challenges, it is critical that we maintain our leadership by investing in global nutrition, agriculture, and health. Our leadership helps mobilize other donor nation commitments, United Nations action, and mobilizes new partners such as private sector corporations and foundations. The U.S. must find a way to maintain our commitment to fighting hunger and famine, even in a difficult budget environment. Building a well-fed, peaceful world is in the moral and security interests of the U.S. and many other nations.
Congress plays a key role in the U.S. government fight against hunger by appropriating the funds for programs such as Food for Peace, Feed the Future, and the McGovern-Dole Food for Education Program. Together, these programs account for less than one half of one percent of the entire U.S. budget.