“From 2005 to 2015, the number of people going to bed hungry each night fell by nearly 30 percent from around 805 million down … to 590 million people,” said USAID Administrator Samantha Power. However, according to a recent United Nations report, “Today as many as 828 million people are hungry.”
Much of this misery is due to COVID-19 and more recently, Russia’s unjustified war against Ukraine. However, the most serious existential force driving this disaster is climate change, said Administrator Power.
“The biggest threat climate change poses to the world’s hungry isn’t a sudden shock. It is a long-sustained onslaught – droughts that don’t just last for a season but for years.”
The drought is most acutely felt in the Horn of Africa, said Administrator Power.
“Since the year 1900, when people began recording these things, on seven separate occasions this region, the Horn, has experienced three drought seasons in a row. However, never, not once before, has the region experienced four consecutive failed rainy seasons until right now.”
“And our best forecasts tell us that the next rainy season, which usually begins in October, will bring poor rains as well,” said Samantha Power.
To avert a catastrophe, we must provide “aid, investment, diplomacy – three areas where the United States is leading but where others must urgently step up.”
“Today I am announcing here a surge of nearly $1.2 billion in funding that will be dispatched to meet the immediate needs faced by the people of Somalia, Kenya, and Ethiopia.”
In severe food crises, more people die from disease than hunger, said Administrator Power. “As part of our assistance, mobile health and nutrition teams will rapidly expand access to vaccines and treat the severely ill.”
We are providing specialized assistance to women and girls, who are always the hardest hit by crisis-level conditions. “But perhaps the most immediate lifesaving humanitarian aid we can provide is assistance to revive severely malnourished children.” The United States will provide $200 million to UNICEF to procure special nutrient paste packets and distribute them to the areas that most need them, including the Horn of Africa and the Sahel.
“No child should die from malnutrition when we have the tools to stop it,” said Administrator Power. “This is one of the best investments, one of the best bargains that we have in our toolkit, for dealing with hunger and for dealing with the need for more nutrition and … ultimately, for development.”