Senators Urge USAID to Hurry and Distribute Congressional Approved Aid Amid Global Food Crisis

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The threat of a global food crisis and the looming fallout is leaving senators on the hill increasingly frustrated with how long it takes to get aid vulnerable countries such as Ukraineeven though the funds were approved by Congress in March.

In a letter on a Tuesday evening led by Sen. Joni ErnstState of Iowa to U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Administrator Samantha Power, a bipartisan group of senators urged the ambassador to expedite the distribution of funds and address “mismanagement” at the agency.

“The world has not experienced a conflict-driven humanitarian and hunger crisis of this magnitude since World War II,” the senators wrote in a letter obtained by Fox News Digital. “USAID has the tools and authority to act quickly to expedite humanitarian assistance that would cushion Putin’s efforts to starve the developing world.”

FILE.  Malian women sifting wheat in a field near Segou, central Mali, in January.  22, 2013. Households across Africa will pay roughly 45% more for wheat flour in 2022 as Russia's war in Ukraine blocks exports from the Black Sea.

FILE. Malian women sifting wheat in a field near Segou, central Mali, in January. 22, 2013. Households across Africa will pay roughly 45% more for wheat flour in 2022 as Russia’s war in Ukraine blocks exports from the Black Sea.
(AP Photo / Jerome Delay, file)

HIGH-LEVEL NEGOTIATIONS ON THE GLOBAL FOOD CRISIS IN THE “FINISHING PHASE” IN UKRAINE, RUSSIA AND TURKEY NEGOTIATIONS

The senators said that so far, USAID’s “effectiveness and leadership” in responding to the global crisis caused by the war is a “serious concern.”

In the following weeks Russian invasion of UkraineCongress allocated emergency funds for humanitarian aid in March, but lawmakers said that as of May 16, only 60 percent of the funds had been disbursed and less than a third had been disbursed.

The letter also said that reports had surfaced accusing the agency’s senior management of slowing down the process due to “reassessment of humanitarian priorities” and attempts to divert funds to “inappropriate development projects.”

“States in Africa, the Middle East and elsewhere have sounded the alarm that without immediate assistance their people could face acute hunger and starvation, opening path to violence and instability in large parts of the world, they wrote. “Unless the United States translates well-intentioned rhetoric and embezzled dollars into a quick humanitarian response, Russia’s crimes against humanity and weaponization of the world’s food supplies will go unpunished.”

The senators have asked for “expedited” delivery of nearly $10 billion in pre-approved funds so that more than 13 million Ukrainians can access food, medicine and housing.

The funds will help “hundreds of millions” more people around the world who are facing food insecurity after a months-long blockade of shipping in the Black Sea.

FILE - This Jan.  December 24, 2017 file photo of children waiting for transport after receiving food donated by the World Food Program in Kabul, Afghanistan.  Friday, Oct.  On September 9, 2020, WFP received the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize for its efforts to fight hunger and food insecurity around the world.

FILE – This Jan. October 24, 2017 file photo of children waiting for transport after receiving food donated by the World Food Program in Kabul, Afghanistan. Friday, Oct. On September 9, 2020, WFP received the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize for its efforts to fight hunger and food insecurity around the world.
(AP Photo/Rahmat Gul)

GLOBAL FOOD CRISIS CAUSED BY RUSSIA PUTS 49 MILLION ON THE ‘VERGE’ OF HUNGER – EXPERT WARNING

Lawmakers are also seeking answers on a second additional package that Congress approved in May, but it was reported in June that it may not reach those in need until the fall.

The letter comes at a time when the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations predicts that more than 180 million people worldwide are already facing “significant food insecurity.”

A USAID spokesperson dismissed claims that the agency was not acting fast enough and told Fox News Digital that its response to the crisis was “unprecedented in speed and scale.”

A tractor at work in Ukraine, which together with Russia before the war accounted for 30% of world grain exports.

A tractor at work in Ukraine, which together with Russia before the war accounted for 30% of world grain exports.
(United Nations World Food Programme)

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The spokesman said the agency is not only working to meet the needs of Ukrainians, but is also “quickly expanding assistance to places that are already experiencing acute food shortages and have been hit hard by Russia’s war in Ukraine, such as Somalia, Ethiopia, Kenya and Yemen.”

The remainder of the funding is planned to be spent by the end of 2022 “so that we can maintain a steady injection of resources into humanitarian programs through the fall and winter when we expect to see the worst effects of the food crisis in many countries.” parts of the world,” the representative added.