NGO Letter to Congress on Supplemental Funding to Respond to Famines

April 5, 2017

The Honorable Patrick Leahy
Ranking Member
State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs, Senate Appropriations Committee
437 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510

The Honorable Lindsey Graham
Chairman
State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs, Senate Appropriations Committee
290 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510

The Honorable Nita Lowey
Ranking Member
State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs, House Appropriations Committee
1016 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515

The Honorable Hal Rogers
Chairman
State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs, House Appropriations Committee
2406 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515


Dear Chairmen Graham and Rogers and Ranking Members Leahy and Lowey:

As 43 organizations working on humanitarian and development issues in some of the world’s poorest countries, we write to ask for your support in providing an additional $1 billion in supplemental funding for fiscal year 2017 in order to adequately respond to famine and famine-like conditions across four countries.

More than 20 million people across North East Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, and Yemen are either experiencing or facing threat of famine and starvation in the next six months. This simultaneous occurrence of famine and near-famine conditions is historic and unprecedented. The impacts are already occurring, with approximately 1.4 million children at immediate risk of death without urgent action by the international community. In Yemen alone, the lack of food and basic resources is so dire that a child under five dies every 10 minutes.

Additional funding is urgently needed now to avert increased death tolls, the destabilization of entire regions, and to support refugees fleeing into neighboring countries in search of food and safety. If we wait until famine is declared in every one of these countries, thousands of lives will already be lost, and the response will come at an exorbitant economic cost. Each day without a humanitarian response at scale increases the likelihood of widespread starvation, destabilization, and mass displacement.

Famine conditions require complex responses to save lives and reestablish political and economic security. These funds will facilitate immediate interventions in the areas of food and livelihoods, nutrition, health, and water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH). Life-saving interventions in the coming four months will prevent, contain, and facilitate recovery from famines in Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, and Yemen.

The U.S. is a catalytic leader in responding to crises. Our actions and responses encourage other countries to take action and provide their own support. When Ethiopia began to suffer an extended drought last year, early U.S. response and funding were instrumental in mobilizing other donors, thus preventing the worst of the crisis. The U.S. cannot and should not address these crises alone, but we must fulfill our role as a global leader to elicit the needed global response. Without U.S. leadership and immediate additional funding, the humanitarian response will flounder.

The problems facing these countries, such as people’s inability to access assistance, go well beyond a lack of resources. However, without a fully resourced response, we sorely undercut our ability to prevent the worst effects.

For these reasons, we urge Congress to provide $1 billion in additional emergency funding in fiscal year 2017 to avert catastrophic and historic loss of life due to these crises.

The Honorable Rodney Frelinghuysen
Chairman
House Appropriations Committee

cc: The Honorable Thad Cochran
Chairman
Senate Appropriations Committee

The Honorable Charles Schumer
Minority Leader
United States Senate

The Honorable Mitch McConnell
Majority Leader
United States Senate

The Honorable Nancy Pelosi
Democratic Leader
United States House of Representatives

The Honorable Paul Ryan
Speaker of the House
United States House of Representatives

 

1. 1,000 Days
2. ACDI/VOCA
3. Action Against Hunger
4. Adeso
5. ADRA
6. American Red Cross
7. AirServ
8. The Alliance to End Hunger
9. American Refugee Committee
10. Better World Campaign
11. Borgen Project
12. Bread for the World
13. CaLP
14. CARE
15. Child Fund
16. CRS
17. Concern
18. Congressional Hunger Center
19. Edesia
20. Food for the Hungry
21. Global Communities
22. Global Citizen
23. Handicap International
24. Helen Keller Intl
25. The Hunger Project
26. iMMAP
27. IMC
28. IRC
29. JRS
30. Life For Relief & Development
31. LWR
32. Mercy Corps
33. NRC
34. Oxfam
35. PCI
36. Planet Aid
37. Refugees International
38. Save the Children
39. US Fund for Unicef
40. Water for South Sudan
41. Women’s Refugee Commission
42. Wellshare International
43. World Vision