(House of Representatives - July 28, 2011)

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[Page H5672]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []

                           THE SOMALIA CRISIS

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The Chair recognizes the gentlewoman from 
Connecticut (Ms. DeLauro) for 5 minutes.
  Ms. DeLAURO. Mr. Speaker, the Horn of Africa is currently suffering 
from the worst drought in 60 years, one of the worst humanitarian 
crises in recent memory. For both moral and national security reasons, 
it demands a strong, clear, sustained response from this institution.
  Last week, famine was declared in parts of southern Somalia. This 
means acute malnutrition rates among children now exceed 30 percent, 
that more than two people per 10,000 die every day, and that people are 
not able to access food or other basic necessities.

                              {time}  1120

  One out of every five households in famine-declared areas have no 
food at all. The malnutrition rates in Somalia are currently the 
highest in the world. In the last few months, tens of thousands of 
Somalis, the majority of them children, have died as a result of causes 
related to malnutrition. In some of the most affected areas, an 
estimated 310,000 children are acutely malnourished.
  The worst may be yet to come. Eight million people are in need of 
assistance in Ethiopia and Kenya. Unless the global community and 
humanitarian agencies intervene now, it's predicted that the entire 
south of Somalia will face famine within the next 2 months.
  Nearly a thousand people are arriving daily at overcrowded refugee 
camps in Kenya and Ethiopia. Many have journeyed for weeks to get 
there. According to Josette Sheeran, executive director of the U.N. 
World Food Program, the roads to these camps ``are becoming roads of 
death. Over half the women I talked to had to leave children to die or 
had children die. In the Horn of Africa, we could lose a generation.'' 
And the troubles do not end there. Sexual violence against women in 
these already overcrowded refugee camps is on the rise.
  This crisis didn't happen overnight. The eastern Horn of Africa is 
prone to chronic food insecurity. What is more, below-average rainfall 
in late 2010 and the spring of 2011 anticipated drought conditions, 
which have been dramatically worsened by the fact Somalia has not had a 
central government since 1991. Drought conditions have also 
progressively worsened throughout the year in Ethiopia and Kenya.
  To address the ongoing crisis, Secretary Clinton recently announced 
that the United States would provide another $28 million in aid for 
people in Somalia and for Somali refugees in Kenya, in addition to the 
over $431 million in food and nonfood emergency assistance already 
provided for the region this year.
  It's a good start. But we need to ensure that the appropriate U.S. 
funds are available to address this crisis this year and that Congress 
provides enough funding to maintain our ability to really address these 
crises. It is a matter of life and death for the most vulnerable people 
in the world.
  We do this not just out of moral responsibility, although that should 
be compelling enough. It is also because our national security 
interests need to be represented to maintain the capability to combat 
food insecurity in the Horn of Africa and other critical regions around 
the world. It's about our national security. Anti-hunger programs can 
help this crisis and strengthen international diplomacy. Yet, 
unfortunately, we have seen the money for international food aid cut 
back severely. When we fight hunger and poverty, we undercut the 
recruiting base of those who would threaten us--the terrorists who 
would threaten us.
  Let me conclude by saying we know what we can do to help. We have the 
ability to alleviate hunger and suffering of millions in the Horn of 
Africa. We know that doing so is the right thing to do. It makes us 
safer in the long run. We lack the political will to do the right 
thing. I urge my colleagues, support funding for these critical 
programs in the coming budget for the millions of suffering in Somalia, 
Kenya and Ethiopia, for the humanitarian crisis of the future, for the 
continued safety and the security of the United States.