Most Americans Oblivious, But Not Uncaring, to
"Near-famine, which is affecting 20 million
people in Africa and the Middle East, is likely
the least reported but most important major
issue of our time."
By Jake Johnson
July 16, 2017 "Information
- The vast majority of Americans are "oblivious"
to the fact that more than 20 million people are
on the brink of starvation in Yemen, Somalia,
South Sudan, and Nigeria, according to a recent
survey conducted by the International Rescue
A "staggering" 85 percent of Americans simply
don't know that these nations are facing such
dire shortages of food and other necessary
resources, IRC discovered.
awareness, however, does not imply deliberate
lack of concern, IRC is quick to observe.
Americans are briefed on the relevant facts, the
organization notes, "the issue immediately rises
to a top global concern."
goes on to note that "[n]ear-famine, which is
affecting 20 million people in Africa and the
Middle East, is likely the least reported but
most important major issue of our time,"
implying that the media is at fault for not
keeping such a crucial issue at the center of
The survey also found that most Americans favor
providing more humanitarian aid, not less, as
President Donald Trump
Americans want not just more aid, but better
aid. At least two-thirds of Americans
believe the rules of engagement for the U.S.
government on this issue should focus less
on 'obligation,' and more on the fact that
the U.S. and NGOs such as the IRC can lead
the way in humanitarian aid reform and
evidence-based outcomes. 68% of registered
voters agree that foreign aid from wealthy
nations like the U.S. is needed now more
than ever, especially since it is proven to
help prevent disasters that would end up
costing more if neglected—like Ebola.
Millennials, the poll found, are particularly
concerned about addressing what has been
deemed by the
United Nations the worst humanitarian crisis
since the Second World War.
see humanitarian aid as a defining issue for
their generation (78% concerned), and the United
States," IRC's report notes. "On nearly every
measure tested in the poll, millennials are more
concerned than other generations, believe it is
a moral obligation for the U.S. to provide
assistance, and are most willing to engage."
IRC's report comes in the midst of strong
indications from the White House that President
Donald Trump intends defy public opinion by
attempting to slash rather than bolster
As the New York Times has
administration is pushing "military might over
to food and development programs have deeply
alarmed charitable organizations, activists, aid
workers, who argue that famines are in large
part political crises—and are therefore solvable
if the world's wealthiest nations are willing to
"The world's most powerful leaders must now act
to prevent a catastrophe happening on their
watch," Oxfam executive director Winnie Byanyima
Bernice Romero, senior director for policy and
humanitarian response for Save the Children,
Los Angeles Times that the White House's
move to cut rather than strengthen humanitarian
aid in the face of widespread starvation is
"unconscionable and could really have
Care USA president Michelle Nunn
concluding: "If enacted, these cuts would result
in the wholesale dismantling of America's
humanitarian and development work, increase
suffering and make the world a more dangerous
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