Shah Announces Additional $23M U.S. Pledge For Horn Of Africa At Minnesota Public Forum On Famine

At a public forum on the famine in the Horn of Africa held at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota on Wednesday, USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah “announced the U.S. is pledging an additional $23 million in grants to support famine relief efforts, bringing the total commitment from the United States to $600 million,” the Associated Press/KSTP reports (Theisen, 8/31). House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Rep. Tim Walz (D-Minn.) also attended the forum, which was moderated by Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) and drew about 350 people, including many in the local Somali community, KARE 11 writes (Croman, 8/31).

“To counter some of the challenges posed by al-Shabab and rebels who have attacked food convoys, Shah said USAID is working on less visible relief efforts,” such as “providing cash vouchers that people can take to markets to buy food,” instead of sending truckloads of grain, AP/KSTP writes. “He also said USAID is focusing on medical intervention, vaccines and delivering meals that are high in nutrition — with the goal of saving as many lives as possible,” according to the news service (8/31).