For Immediate Release
WASHINGTON, D.C. - In response to the unfolding drought in the Horn of Africa, the United States Government, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), will contribute approximately 19,000 metric tons (MT) of food to assist Somalis in need. This food was already strategically prepositioned in regional warehouses to ensure rapid delivery and distribution to women and children in Somalia.
The drought currently plaguing the region is considered to be the worst since the 1960s, devastating crops and livestock. At the same time, prices at local markets are too high for most to be able to buy what they need to feed their families. Malnutrition in the region is spiraling upward, especially among women and children; roughly half of Somali refugees arriving in Kenya and Ethiopia are acutely malnourished.
U.S. food aid is distributed by the United Nations World food Program (WFP). With USAID's contribution, WFP is able to target approximately 1.2 million drought- and conflict-affected people in northern Somalia and accessible areas in central Somalia and Mogadishu. This new contribution, valued at approximately US$21 million, complements an earlier 2011 USAID contribution of US$14.5 million to facilitate the transport of 65,000 MT of food donated by the Government of Brazil. U.S. Government humanitarian support to Somalia in fiscal year 2011 totals US$43 million to date.
Larry Meserve, USAID East Africa Regional Mission Director, said, "This new contribution will go a long way to help meet the needs of millions of Somalis who have been hit hard by this natural disaster. It is also a statement from the U.S. Government to the people of Somalia that we stand by them and will continue to help mitigate further suffering."
USAID's emergency assistance works in coordination with its development programs, which support Somalis in Somalia through ongoing health, education, democracy and economic growth programs. USAID also supports approximately 350,000 Somali refugees who are based in Kenya, with food and other health and educational assistance.
For more information about USAID and its programs in Somalia, please visit www.usaid.gov.
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Last updated: January 17, 2013