Obama Administration Announces Additional $105M For Humanitarian Efforts In Horn Of Africa

“President Obama has approved an additional $105 million for ‘urgent humanitarian relief efforts’ in the Horn of Africa, White House press secretary Jay Carney announced in a statement Monday afternoon,” Politico’s “Politico44” blog reports (8/8). “Carney says the money will help provide food, shelter, water, and sanitation and health services to those in need,” according to the Associated Press/Washington Post (8/8). The money will come out of the Emergency Relief and Migration Assistance Fund, Carney said, adding that the U.S. has provided about $565 million in humanitarian aid so far this year, Reuters notes (8/9).

The Huffington Post reports that “humanitarian workers remain confused about a week-old U.S. policy intended to free up resources for combating the country’s famine … say[ing] they have yet to receive the kind of clarification and reassurance they would need to take American funds, and are struggling to make sense of what exactly has changed in the American policy.”

The State Department now can “provide a license … for NGOs to work in al-Shabab-controlled regions, with the understanding that some funds may fall into the hands of al-Shabab,” according to the article. “On Friday, officials from USAID and the Treasury [Department] met with a number of partner agencies in an attempt to sort out the confusion, said Nancy Lindborg, USAID’s assistant administrator for humanitarian assistance,” Huffington Post notes (Hersh, 8/8).

The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) on Tuesday said it is facing a $103 million shortfall “to rebuild agriculture and fight famine” in the Horn of Africa and said it will host a high-level meeting for agriculture ministers on August 18 to address the crisis, Reuters reports. FAO said it had asked for $161 million and has received or has commitments for about $57 million, the news agency notes (Kovalyova, 8/9).