U.S. Senior Administration Official from the Office of the Spokesperson today said U.S. law has never prohibited humanitarian assistance to people in need in Somalia.
The Senior official also said the crisis in the Horn of Africa, this humanitarian crisis, continues to develop, the U.S. Government approach is going to develop as well. The U.S. Official also reported that about nearly 12 million people primarily in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance.
“Three reasons for this: This two-year drought that we’re currently experiencing, which is part of a 60-year drought cycle; then continued lack of central government in Somalia; and then the work of al-Shabaab or the depredations of al-Shabaab in southern and central Somalia.” -U.S. Senior Official
The Senior Official stressed that the United States is taking all of the necessary steps. The U.S. government is doing everything it can to provide assistance to Somalis in need.
“That is really – right now our primary concern is helping to save lives in the Horn of Africa. And I just have to point out that it’s not a coincidence that the two areas in Somalia where the UN has declared famine conditions exist are areas under al-Shabaab’s control. Be that as it may, we are doing everything we can to get aid to people who need it.” -U.S. Senior Official
The Senior Official reiterated that U.S. law has never prohibited humanitarian assistance to people in need in Somalia. The United States donated about $80 million of its aid which has been delivered to people in Somalia.
“But in the face of this evolving crisis and the extreme humanitarian needs, we have issued new guidance to allow more flexibility and to provide a wider range of age – of aid to a larger number of areas in need.” -U.S. Senior Official
The Senior Official said that the new guidance will clarify that aid workers who are partnering with the U.S. Government to help save lives under dangerous conditions are not in conflict with U.S. laws and regulations that seek to limit the resources or to eliminate resources flowing to al-Shabaab.
“In essence, what we’re doing here is working to reassure humanitarian assistance organizations and workers that good-faith efforts to deliver food to people in need will not risk prosecution.” – U.S. Senior Official