Committee on International Relations
U.S. House of Representatives
Henry J. Hyde, Chairman

CONTACT: Sam Stratman, (202) 226-7875, March 31, 2003

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Famine in East Africa: A Continuing Crisis
Hyde schedules Tuesday hearing with Congressman Wolf,
USAID, State Department, USDA, World Food Programme

BACKGROUND - Millions of people are at risk of starvation again in the Horn of Africa. This hearing will focus on the food crisis currently enveloping the greater Horn region and will examine the effectiveness of U.S. food assistance in addressing food security needs. In addition, the hearing will examine the efforts – successful and unsuccessful – of national governments in meeting the agricultural and nutritional needs of their own people. The hearing will examine a number of social, economic and political developments contributing to the crisis, including the HIV/AIDS pandemic, recent military history, climatic factors, poor infrastructure, high population growth, inefficient agricultural policies, poor governance, and questionable governmental decisions about the prioritization of resources.

WHAT: Full Committee hearing: U.S. Response to East African Famines and the Future Outlook for Food Aid in Africa

WHEN: 10:15 a.m., Tuesday, April 1, 2003

WHERE: 2172 Rayburn House Office Building

WITNESSES: Panel I: The Honorable Frank R. Wolf, Chairman, Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, and State, the Judiciary, and Related Agencies, House Committee on Appropriations; Panel II: Alan P. Larson, Under Secretary for Economic, Business, and Agricultural Affairs, U.S. Department of State; Andrew Natsios, Administrator, U.S. Agency for International Development; James G. “Jim” Butler, Ph.D., Deputy Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services, U.S. Department of Agriculture; Panel III: Sheila Sisulu, Deputy Executive Director, United Nations World Food Programme; Mesfin Wolde Mariam, Ph.D., Fellow, Harvard University

Questions to be raised during this hearing:


Most observers argue that droughts are predictable and famine preventable. Why is it, despite the early warning system in place, that millions are at risk again in Ethiopia and Eritrea?


Is food aid the answer? Should we refocus our assistance on the improvement of the region’s agricultural system and means of dealing with future shortages?


Are other donor nations doing enough to help? Do we need to be doing more? At what point does increased U.S. assistance only mean that other countries are “off the hook”?