The United States government has announced about $533million in humanitarian assistance for Nigeria, Ethiopia, Somalia, and South Sudan, as well as countries in the Lake Chad region.
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, announced this on Tuesday during a presentation at the George Mason University, Fairfax in Virginia, ahead of his ‘very important’ trip to Africa.
The government explained on its Nigerian embassy’s website that the fund is meant to support countries where millions of citizens are facing life-threatening food insecurity and malnutrition as a result of ongoing conflict or prolonged drought.
“As we support important security efforts, we must work to find long-term diplomatic solutions to conflicts that cause so much human suffering. Until we do, the United States, as the world’s largest provider of humanitarian assistance, will continue to stand with those most vulnerable,” Tillerson said.
“As a testament to that commitment, today I’m announcing $533 million in additional humanitarian assistance to fight famine and food insecurity and address other needs resulting from conflicts in Somalia, South Sudan, Ethiopia, and the Lake Chad Basin.
“The alarming levels of hunger in these areas are largely man-made, as conflicts erupt and people flee their homes. Under these conditions, people cannot produce crops and often lose access altogether to food, education, and healthcare.
“Many lose everything. And regrettably, Mother Nature can still be cruel, such as in the Horn of Africa, where a prolonged drought is contributing to grave food insecurity,” he added.
With this new funding from the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development, the U.S. is providing emergency food and nutrition assistance to help vulnerable populations, including tens of thousands of tons of in-kind food aid.
The funding, according to the statement, also supports safe drinking water programmes, emergency healthcare, and hygiene programmes to treat and prevent the spread of disease, as well as the reunification of families separated by conflict.
A breakdown of the newly announced funds shows that about $184million is for affected populations from South Sudan, more than $110million for affected populations from Ethiopia, at least $110million for affected populations from Somalia, while more than $128million is for affected populations from Nigeria and countries in the Lake Chad region.
The United States, however, called on all parties to allow aid workers safe and unhindered access to help communities in need.