Rep. Karen Bass Calls on World to Meet $4 Billion Target to Aid South Sudan and other Refugees

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A South Sudan refugee speaks with U.S. ambassador to Uganda Deborah Malac and Rep. Bass.

Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.) has returned from a Congressional Delegation led by Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Africa from a Congressional Delegation to famine-stricken South Sudan and neighboring Uganda.

“The trip was extremely educational for the both of us but the main takeaway from the trip was more than clear; there’s still work to be done,” Rep. Bass said upon her return. “When you visit a camp with hundreds of thousands of refugees you begin to understand on a much deeper level the impact of man-made famine. The conditions are devastating and the international community is in a position to do something about it.”

The delegation visited aid sites in both Uganda and South Sudan, including Bidi Bidi, which became the world’s largest refugee camp in April.

The trip lasted 6 days. “The aid Uganda is receiving is nowhere near the amount needed to sustain life and it’s obvious on the faces of those we met there. We made sure to emphasize that the conflict in South Sudan needs to stop. We must address the root cause of the issue.”

As of May, there were nearly 1 million refugees from South Sudan living in Uganda according to according to U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) estimates.

“The UN’s request for 4 billion dollars to fight famine should not be taken lightly,” Rep. Bass said. “The international community has a choice – either work together to end famine or continue death due to avoidable causes. The United States has already pledged more than $1.2 billion, largely in part to the $990 million dollar allocation for famine relief authored by Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) and Rep. Tom Rooney (R-Fla.) last April. Now we need the support of the Europe and the international community.”

In order to shore up international support, Rep. Bass is joining other Members of Congress in meeting with ambassadors to discuss reaching the UN’s $4 billion goal as well as future strategy to address the ongoing root causes of the famine and impending famine in Africa and Yemen.

“The reason for famine in the areas that we visited is conflict. It’s all man-made,” Rep. Bass said. “Hundreds of thousands and possibly millions of people, some of whom I met in Uganda and South Sudan, depend on the international community to guarantee that the region’s political landscape is not in the same exact place one year from now. We have to adopt a two pronged approach that attacks famine head on but also works to eradicate root causes. We can end famine now.”

In late April, the House of Representatives passed a bipartisan resolution authored by Rep. Bass urging the Administration to release additional funding through USAID to respond to the horrific famine in South Sudan.

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