Washington, D.C. – Today, Senator Todd Young (R-IN) led and delivered a bipartisan letter to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson calling for an urgent and comprehensive diplomatic effort to address political obstacles in northeastern Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, and Yemen that are preventing humanitarian aid from being delivered to people who desperately need it. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Ranking Member, Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD), helped lead the letter, which was also signed by eight other members of the committee.
The letter outlined the dire conditions in each of these regions and underscored that as many as 20 million people could starve to death if action is not taken in the coming weeks.
They wrote, “The scale and complexity of these crises might lead some to say the situation is hopeless. We reject such a response as U.S. leadership can make an enormous difference, and we believe the Department of State can and should lead a diplomatic effort now to reduce the political barriers that are hindering the delivery of food to millions of starving people. The U.S. government has a strategic and moral imperative to do nothing less.”
Senator Young hand delivered the letter today to Secretary Tillerson during a meeting at the Department of State.
To read the full text of the letter, click here. In addition to Senators Young (R-IN) and Cardin (D-MD), Senators Rubio (R-FL), Markey (D-MA), Shaheen (D-NH), Murphy (D-CT), Booker (D-NJ), Coons (D-DE), Gardner (R-CO), and Flake (R-AZ) signed the letter.
Gregory Gottlieb, USAID’s Acting Assistant Administrator for the Bureau for Democracy, Conflict, and Humanitarian Assistance, addressed the urgent situation during the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on March 22nd. Video of the testimony can be viewed here: (42:50 timestamp).