Senators Urge Action to Avert Famine Following ICRC Testimony

Mr. Yves Daccord, the Director-General of the International Committee of the Red Cross, yesterday called the crisis “one of the most critical humanitarian issues to face mankind since the end of the Second World War”.  He warned that “we are at the brink of a humanitarian mega-crisis unprecedented in recent history.”
Sen. Todd Young (R-IN) greets ICRC Director-General Yves Daccord after the commencement of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Hearing on global humanitarian crises on Wednesday, March 22, 2017. Niki Clark/ICRC

Sen. Todd Young (R-IN) greets ICRC Director-General Yves Daccord after the commencement of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Hearing on global humanitarian crises on Wednesday, March 22, 2017. Niki Clark/ICRC

After testimony by ICRC Director-General Yves Daccord before the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, a bipartisan group of Senators wrote a letter to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson calling for US action to avert famine in four countries at risk – Nigeria, South Sudan, Somalia and Yemen.

Senator Cardin (D-MD), the Ranking Member on the Committee, and Senator Young (R-IN), also a member of the Committee, led the letter, which was also signed by eight other members of the committee. The letter outlined the dire humanitarian conditions in these places and underscored that as many as 20 million people could starve to death if action is not taken in the coming weeks. Sen. Todd Young writes:

“…we write to ask that the Department of State to implement an urgent and comprehensive diplomatic effort to address political obstacles in each of these regions that are preventing humanitarian aid from being delivered to people who desperately need it.”
“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.”

Yves and others testifying before the Committee helped raise attention to the food crisis sweeping across Africa and in Yemen, and spoke to Members about what could be done to avert famine. His powerful testimony was also mentioned in Reuters and Intercept.

A signed copy of the letter is available by clicking here.