As we celebrate the start of 2014, and a new year, the Syrian people find themselves in their third year of an escalating war. In just the last year, the number of people displaced inside Syria has quadrupled from 1.5 million to more than 6.5 million. More Syrians are now internally displaced from their homes than anywhere else in the world. An additional 2.3 million Syrians have fled to neighboring countries in search of safety. More than 9.3 million people—over 40 percent of Syria’s population—are now in need of humanitarian assistance.
Tuesday, December 17, 2013
Since its independence from France in 1960, the CAR has been one of the poorest, most unstable countries in the world. According to the United Nations Development Program, its indicators in health, education, gender equality, income, and trade measure not only well below global averages but even remarkably below the standard for “low human development.” Successive autocratic governments punctuated by political instability and conflict have only exacerbated the effect of poverty on Central Africans. It is in this context that the current crisis developed and because of this context that the emergency in the CAR has rapidly escalated and stymied the delivery of assistance to those most affected by it.
Tuesday, December 3, 2013
From cadres of organized local volunteers to food packets dispatched via pedi-cab, the relief response in the Philippines was as comprehensive as any large-scale relief effort I’ve seen. I am confident that our government's rapid mobilization combined with the Government of the Philippines’ preparedness helped prevent a tragic situation from becoming much worse.
With the Department of Defense (DoD) in support, USAID has been able to overcome the significant logistical hurdles of providing humanitarian assistance in an island country where the most powerful recorded storm to make landfall knocked out communications and cut off access to many. The U.S. has provided nearly $60 million in humanitarian assistance to date, including food assistance to at least 2.7 million people, critically-needed water containers, heavy-duty plastic sheeting for temporary shelters, and hygiene kits to prevent the spread of disease.
Thursday, November 21, 2013
USAID views our assistance programs in the North Africa region as an investment in protecting our national interests and in building long-term partnerships with the people and the governments of those countries. USAID programs will continue to provide the seeds for future innovation and technology, to advance economic prosperity and growth, and to strengthen regional stability and security. The countries and peoples in North Africa continue to face significant challenges, but also significant opportunities. We will continue to support them through these political and economic transitions. While we recognize that our budgets are facing increasing pressures, we are aligning our programs to address the challenges and opportunities facing the region. We also know that our continued engagement in this region is vital to maintaining relationships with key allies, promoting stability, countering extremist threats in the Middle East and North Africa and advancing our key strategic interests.
Wednesday, November 20, 2013
Gender-based violence cuts across ethnicity, race, class, religion, education level, and international borders. An estimated one in three women worldwide is beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused in her lifetime. Intimate partner violence is the most common form of violence experienced by women globally. An appalling 38% of all murders of women globally were reported being committed by their intimate partners. Gender-based violence can also take the form of harmful traditional practices, such as female genital mutilation, so-called “honor killings,” bride abductions, and child marriage. An estimated 10 million girls are married every year before they reach 18. Child marriage is a practice that increases a girl’s risk of school dropout, maternal mortality, short birth intervals, and vulnerability to other forms of gender-based violence, among other adverse outcomes. Children are particularly vulnerable to violence, especially sexual abuse.
Tuesday, November 19, 2013
It is truly heartbreaking to see the devastation and loss of life caused by Super Typhoon Haiyan, and I would like to express my deepest condolences to those who lost loved ones due to the storm. Super Typhoon Haiyan struck the central Philippines on the morning of November 8 local time. The storm was one of the most powerful typhoons ever to make landfall, bringing heavy rains and sustained winds of up to 195 miles per hour, and a resulting storm surge that caused near complete destruction in many coastal areas of East Samar and Leyte provinces.
The strong, experienced disaster preparedness and response capacity of the Government of the Philippines undoubtedly saved countless lives. For more than two decades, the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance and Mission in the Philippines have worked with the Philippine government to strengthen its disaster management system and response capabilities. Prior to the storm making landfall, the Philippine government evacuated 792,000 people to 109 evacuation centers in 22 provinces. In the first 24 to 48 hours, the government quickly triaged and evacuated many critically injured survivors to receive medical care, and subsequent government response efforts have been aggressive – mobilizing airlifts of safe drinking water, relief supplies, and food commodities to Tacloban and other hard-hit areas.
Thursday, October 31, 2013
I last testified on the Syria crisis for the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Near Eastern and South and Central Asian Affairs seven months ago and since then we have seen another 30,000 deaths, reflecting the staggering escalation of violence. In just the last year, the number of reported deaths has tripled from 26,000 to more than 100,000. The number in need inside Syria jumped from 2.5 million people to more than 6.8 million—roughly the equivalent of the combined populations of Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, and Connecticut. And now with over two million refugees, a national crisis has fully evolved into a regional crisis, putting severe strains on vulnerable communities of neighboring countries.
Tuesday, October 29, 2013
Since the start of the January 2011 revolution, USAID’s portfolio in Egypt has focused on responding to the Egyptian people’s demands for jobs, accountability, and rights. In the wake of the events of July 3, these priorities remain intact. We will continue to work with the Egyptian people to address their legitimate aspirations for economic opportunities and democratic governance.
USAID’s assistance program in Egypt is a cornerstone of our bilateral relationship, and we are proud of the accomplishments we have made over the last thirty years. Just to highlight a few accomplishments, USAID has achieved significant impact in increasing access to education. Our recently completed early grade reading program improved fluency by 91 percent in pilot schools, and the scaled-up project reached 1.4 million students in all grade-one classrooms across Egypt. Our assistance has awarded 185,000 scholarships to girls and built nearly 100 schools (serving over 44,000 students) in underserved communities throughout the country.
Wednesday, October 9, 2013
As is well known, Haiti has long struggled with serious development challenges. The devastating 2010 earthquake, coupled with periods of political unrest, other natural disasters, and limited capacity of government institutions, exacerbated these long-standing issues. USAID’s program has seen notable successes in overcoming these challenges. However, the long-term sustainability of these programs and the development of Haiti depends on the Government of Haiti’s ability to maintain the advances made through these activities and to take the sometimes difficult steps needed so it can better meet the needs of their citizens.
Now, two years later, Somalia has its first effective central government since 1991, with democratically elected President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and a new Somali Federal Parliament. Somalis have worked hard to establish the foundation of their state based on significant efforts to forge a national consensus. And I am very pleased to report that I recently returned from an international meeting on Somalia focused on peace and prosperity, not famine. In Brussels on September 16, 58 countries and 11 international organizations gathered in support of a compact that outlines a roadmap forward. Emerging from 20 years of conflict will be a long and bumpy road, but Somalia is now heading in the right direction, with the best chance in 20 years to move toward a better future.
Today I am pleased to talk to you about this opportunity, the new frameworks and international partnerships in support of Somalia, and what USAID is doing to help Somalia transition out of conflict, fragility, and chronic poverty.
Last updated: January 17, 2014