11 Million People Are About To Starve In East Africa. What Is The U.S. Doing To Help?
How long do you think it would take the average westerner to find Ethiopia on a map? How about Kenya? Somalia?
Dont feel too guilty. These East African nations are hardly ever mentioned in the media. Theyre remote, poor, and not exactly your standard vacation destinations. But right now, 11 million people in those countries are on the brink of starvation as a result of a terrible drought. They desperately need help from the world community, and especially the United States.
President Trumps response has been to put out a budget that would slash foreign aid by 29.1% and devastate funding to combat climate change, which scientists insist is leading to more intense droughts in the first place.
So President Trump doesnt want to address the root cause of the problem, and hes not too keen to pay for the quick fix either. Where does that leave the 11 million most vulnerable people on earth?
Dangling by a thread.
Although Congress has approved $990 million for global food aid up to October 2017, a UN spokesman has expressed concern about how quickly aid is actually getting to those who need it. It's the government's job to decide where that aid is going and in what amounts, and apparently they haven't figured that out yet.
"People are dying today, not three months from now," the spokesman noted.
Even if every penny of that $990 million got to those who need it, it still wouldnt be enough. Estimates place the cost of dealing with this crisis at $2 billion by the end of the year.
And thats really just a band-aid. Unless serious action is taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the climate will continue to change, and the poorest people on earth will pay an ever higher price for the shortsightedness of the richest.
But even if you're one of those people who doesn't care about the suffering of others, or one of those people who doesn't buy into manmade climate change, there's still a good reason why you should be worried.
Just take it from General James Mattis, Donald Trump's Secretary of Defense. He recently wrote that climate change "impacts our security situation." And he's right.
Check out this statement by the anti-poverty charity Oxfam: "Climate change is not a distant, future threat: it is helping fuel this emerging catastrophe in which poverty, chronic malnutrition, weak governance, conflict, drought and climate change have combined to create a perfect storm."
Increased desertification is projected to leave millions more people vulnerable to drought and famine in the coming decades. And what will they do? They will kill each other for resources, they will topple governments, and they will make easy converts for terrorists and demagogues.
So, President Trump: if you want to stop the spread of ISIS and other nefarious groups - maybe climate change and foreign aid should be higher on your list of priorities. Or, y'know... on the list at all.
Donate to the World Food Programme here.
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