Updated: February 24, 2021
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Tuesday announced nearly $533 million in humanitarian assistance for Ethiopia, Somalia, South Sudan, and Nigeria, as well as countries in the Lake Chad Basin.
Millions of people in those countries are facing life-threatening food insecurity and malnutrition as a result of ongoing conflict or prolonged drought.
Mr. Tillerson, who spoke at the University of George Mason in Virginia ahead of his first official African trip said, with the new funding from the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development, the United States is providing emergency food and nutrition assistance to help vulnerable populations, including tens of thousands of tons of in-kind food aid.
Additionally, the funding would support safe drinking water programs, emergency health care and hygiene programs to treat and prevent the spread of disease, and reunification of families separated by conflict.
The assistance also includes life-saving medical supplies, improved sanitation, and emergency shelter, and prioritizes programs that protect vulnerable groups.
“Of the newly announced funds, nearly $184 million is for affected populations from South Sudan, more than $110 million for affected populations from Ethiopia, more than $110 million for affected populations from Somalia, and more than $128 million for affected populations from Nigeria and countries in the Lake Chad region,” the State Department said in a statement.
“In the Lake Chad region and South Sudan, years of conflict have led to acute food insecurity. In Somalia, ongoing violence has exacerbated the humanitarian impacts of severe and protracted drought. In Ethiopia, continued drought has worsened an already dire food security situation. A swift influx of U.S. assistance, along with that of other donors, is helping improve humanitarian conditions in all of these countries. But ultimately it is up to the leaders in these countries, particularly in South Sudan, to stop the violence and put the welfare of their citizens at the forefront of their actions. Millions will continue to be at risk as long as parties to these conflicts continue to engage in violence. The United States calls on all parties to allow aid workers safe and unhindered access to help communities in need.
“The United States is the largest donor of humanitarian assistance for these crises in Africa, providing nearly $3 billion since the beginning of Fiscal Year 2017. We commend the humanitarian contributions made by all donors, and encourage additional contributions to meet growing needs,” the statement added.
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