Aid Groups Urge Congress to Help West Africa
The International Rescue Committee and other humanitarian aid and human rights organizations today urged Congress to include assistance for war-torn West Africa in the emergency funds now being appropriated for Iraq and Afghanistan. "We're asking Congress to allocate just one percent of the total to the needs of Liberia and neighboring countries, including Sierra Leone, Guinea and Ivory Coast," said Sandra Mitchell, IRC vice president, government relations.
"A one percent allocation will save lives, prevent renewed fighting and help these societies rebuild," Mitchell said.
In their letter to Congress, the aid organizations said, "It is shocking that no allocation has been made for the unmet needs of West Africa" in the $87 billion emergency supplemental appropriation being considered by the lawmakers.
"At a time when the United States seeks multi-lateral support for Iraq and Afghanistan, it can ill afford to ignore West Africa," the letter said. "The United States must also lend support to its allies' humanitarian and development efforts in West Africa. Effective burden sharing must be reciprocal."
The full text of the letter and a list of signers is available here.