US announces £489m of aid for Yemen, Somalia, Nigeria and South Sudan

by admin | Saturday, Jul 8, 2017 | 141 views

The United States has announced more than 630 million dollars (£489 million) in aid for Yemen, Somalia, South Sudan and Nigeria, where conflict has helped to cause what the United Nations calls the world’s largest humanitarian crisis in more than 70 years.

The announcement came as US president Donald Trump attended the G20 summit in Germany.

The total US humanitarian assistance to the four countries is now more than 1.8 billion dollars (£1.4 billion) this fiscal year, the US Agency for International Development said.

Tens of millions of people in Yemen, Somalia, South Sudan and Nigeria face hunger amid conflict, with Yemen suffering the world’s largest cholera outbreak.

Half of Somalia, where 12 million people need aid, is hit by drought, and South Sudan’s civil war and Nigeria’s Boko Haram insurgency have contributed to severe hunger.

The US announcement was hailed as “truly a life-saving gift” by David Beasley, the new American director of the UN’s World Food Programme.

The WFP said in a tweet that the new US donation “comes just as families face the time of year when food stocks run out.”

The agency warned earlier this year that food aid could be cut for more than a million hungry Nigerians if promised funding from the international community did not arrive.

But while the US is the world’s largest humanitarian donor, Mr Trump’s proposed deep cuts to foreign aid have caused widespread concern.

Mr Trump announced 329 million dollars (£255 million) in May in “anti-famine” aid to the four countries.

While his administration’s 2018 spending plan does not eliminate money for emergency food aid, it ends a critical programme by consolidating it into a broader account that covers all international disaster assistance.

This reduces the amount of money the US dedicates to fighting famine to 1.5 billion dollars (£1.16 billion) next year, from 2.6 billion dollars (£2.02 billion) in 2016.

Mr Trump’s officials say the proposed changes will streamline US aid programmes, eliminate redundancies and increase efficiency.

Relief organisations fear less US money will mean an increase in famine and hunger-related deaths, particularly in Africa, if Congress approves the budget.

AP

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