With hunger fast engulfing the globe, the U.S. cannot withdraw from its role as the leader in facing this crisis which afflicts nearly 1 billion people, but that is just what is happening.
Right now the Congress is proposing significant budget cuts to the Food for Peace and other hunger-fighting programs. Why? Is it to cut the federal deficit? Hunger-fighting programs are relatively inexpensive and even ending them would not make a dent in the debt.
What cutting food aid will do is threaten millions of lives and devastate our own foreign policy goals of peace and stability. It will prevent any chance of maintaining a sustained attack on global hunger when it's needed more than ever. Here is what is at stake.
A severe drought has descended upon the Horn of Africa ruining food supplies. There are at least 9 million people who need food in Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia.
Matt Croucher of Save the Children says, "Thousands of children could starve if we don't get life-saving help to them fast. Parents no longer have any way to feed their children; they've lost their animals, their wells have dried up and food is too expensive to afford." Save the Children has issued an emergency appeal for funds.
Food is needed to save lives and stop the powerful domino effect of hunger. Josette Sheeran, the World Food Programme's (WFP) director said last week, “It is essential that we move quickly to break the destructive cycle of drought and hunger that forces farmers to sell their means of production as part of their survival strategy."
A growing number of people in the Horn of Africa are in need of food assistance in the wake of a hard drought and ongoing conflict in Somalia. Photo: WFP/Caroline Bird