Jill Biden, Frist Urge More Somalia Aid

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WASHINGTON, Aug. 11 (UPI) — An opinion piece by Jill Biden and former U.S. Sen. Bill Frist says famine in Somalia “threatens to overwhelm the international response.”

The piece is scheduled to be published Friday in USA Today, the White House said.

Jill Biden is a physician and Vice President Joe Biden’s wife. Frist, from Tennessee, was the Senate Republican Majority Leader until 2007.

The piece said the two traveled this week “to Dagahaley refugee camp in Dadaab, Kenya, where hundreds of thousands of people have fled Somalia seeking to escape the worst famine in 60 years. … In the past three months alone, 29,000 children younger than 5 have died of starvation.”

The United States has worked with the international community, and, “We are now helping more than 4.6 million people.”

Though many are being saved, “the scope of this crisis threatens to overwhelm the international response. Without life-saving assistance, hundreds of thousands of people, most of them children, could die.” The piece urged readers to go to USAID.gov to see how they could help.

“Yet we must also confront the broader challenge of food insecurity that leaves so many people vulnerable to droughts like this one,” the piece said. “That’s why America has been helping nations like Ethiopia and Kenya develop innovative and improved crops and irrigation methods and new ways for farmers to market and transport their products. The goal of our aid is simple: to help create the conditions where such aid is no longer needed.

“That, ultimately, is how we can help prevent the kind of suffering we see in Somalia today.”

Biden and Frist said as they left one of the camps, “a mother looked us in the eyes, surrounded by her four malnourished children, and asked us to please help save her family. We all have the power to answer her plea.”

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