Mercy Corps Applauds Lifesaving Congressional Action in FY17 Omnibus

May 5, 2017

Maintaining foreign aid funding also critical in FY18 budget as famine threatens 20 million people

WASHINGTON, DC – The global organization Mercy Corps applauds the U.S. Congress for allocating $990 million in additional funding for emergency humanitarian assistance in the FY17 Omnibus Appropriations bill. Twenty million people face starvation as famine looms across Nigeria, Yemen, Somalia and South Sudan, including 1.4 million children at imminent risk of death.

“Congress has shown great leadership in providing these desperately needed funds. Now is not the time to hold back on providing lifesaving foreign aid,” says Andrea Koppel, Vice President of Global Engagement and Policy at Mercy Corps. “Twenty years from now, when we look back on our response to this unprecedented global crisis, we must conclude that we did everything in our power to reduce suffering and save lives.”

Besides humanitarian funding, the FY17 Omnibus also includes funding for the Development Assistance and Economic Support Fund Accounts, which support programs that tackle the root causes of humanitarian crisis and help communities stop the cycle of recurrent disaster, saving lives and U.S. taxpayer dollars.

“It is critical that we meet the urgent needs of today, but humanitarian assistance alone is not enough to address the cycle of food insecurity,” says Koppel. “Now is the time to invest in long-term programs that help people better prepare for and cope with crises in the future. We must also lead political negotiations to end the conflicts driving so many of the human catastrophes we see today.”

Mercy Corps urges lawmakers to continue to recognize the importance of investments in foreign assistance, reject proposed and disproportionate cuts to foreign aid in the President’s FY18 budget request and fund the International Affairs Budget at $60 billion. While exact percentages of cuts in the FY18 budget are still unknown, cuts would be devastating: a reduction of 30 percent to just one humanitarian account would result in some 31.5 million vulnerable people not receive lifesaving services such as water, emergency healthcare and shelter.

Mercy Corps is working in all four countries facing famine, delivering food, water, sanitation supplies and other essential services to address immediate humanitarian needs, as well as laying the groundwork for long-term recovery and resilience to future disasters. Join us and support Mercy Corps’ work around the world.

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