Public Affairs Section
United Nations Avenue
P.O. Box 606 Village Market
00621 Nairobi, Kenya
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Office of the Spokesperson
For Immediate Release July 20, 2011
STATEMENT BY SECRETARY CLINTON
U.S. Response to Declaration of Famine in Somalia and Drought in the Horn of Africa
The United States is deeply concerned by the humanitarian emergency in the Horn of Africa and today’s announcement by the United Nations that a famine is ongoing in southern Somalia. The United States is the largest bilateral donor of emergency assistance to the eastern Horn of Africa. We have already responded with over $383 million in food and non-food emergency assistance this year alone.
But it is not enough -- the need is only expected to increase and more must be done by the United States and the international community. That is why today the United States government is providing an additional $28 million dollars in aid for people in Somalia and for Somali refugees in Kenya.
The eastern Horn of Africa is prone to chronic food insecurity that has been exacerbated by a two-year drought. Crops have failed, livestock have been dying, and food prices are skyrocketing. In Somalia, twenty years without a central government and the relentless terrorism by al-Shabaab against its own people has turned an already severe situation into a dire one that is expected to continue to decline. Nonetheless, we remain cautiously optimistic that al Shabaab will permit unimpeded international assistance in famine struck areas.
The United States, in close coordination with the international community, is working to assist more than 11 million people in Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia, who are in extreme need of assistance. To anticipate growing needs, the United States government has worked with our partners over the last year to pre-position food in the region, increase funding for early warning systems, and strengthen non-food assistance in the nutrition, health, water and sanitation sectors. In addition to emergency assistance, this administration’s Feed the Future initiative is working to break the cycle of hunger once and for all by addressing the root causes of hunger and food insecurity through innovative agricultural advances.
But the United States cannot address the crisis in the Horn alone. All donors in the international community must commit to taking additional steps to tackle both immediate assistance needs and strengthen capacity in the region to respond to future crises.