In a letter from Dec. 19, every Democrat from Minnesota’s congressional delegation asked the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to prioritize aid to Somalia.
Citing recent flooding and torrential rains in Somalia, the Democrats asked USAID to “keep aid to Somalia at the forefront of your operations.”
The letter was signed by Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Sen. Tina Smith, Rep. Ilhan Omar, Rep. Angie Craig, Rep. Dean Phillips, and Rep. Betty McCollum.
The group of six Democrats said, “Minnesota is home to one of the world’s largest populations of Somali immigrants and refugees, and many in the community have family in Somalia who have been affected by the flooding. Our Somali community is working hard to send aid back to Somalia and bring national and international attention to the country’s plight, but federal assistance is needed.”
Previously, a group of Minnesota state legislators held a press conference at the Minnesota Capitol regarding the floods in Somalia. At that press conference, state Rep. Hodan Hassan, D-Minneapolis, said, “We want our federal partners to step up.” Additionally, state Rep. Samakab Hussein, D-St. Paul, issued a statement calling for “immediate, unrestricted humanitarian aid” to Somalia.
USAID is an agency of the federal government that sends money and resources to countries around the world to promote “Democracy,” “Anti-Corruption,” “Conflict Prevention Stabilization,” “Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment,” “Education,” and other initiatives in those foreign countries.
The budget for USAID in fiscal year 2023 was roughly $29 billion. Earlier this year, the administrator of USAID requested an increased budget of $32 billion for fiscal year 2024. This budget request included over $3 billion to support “the implementation of the National Strategy for Gender Equity and Equality.” Additionally, the budget request asked for over half a billion dollars to “promote the resilience of the Ukrainian people as they defend themselves against Russia’s invasion.”
USAID says their “efforts are both from and for the American people.”
Currently, USAID “supports Somalia’s aspirations for durable stability, democracy, and prosperity.” In August, a $92.6 million agreement between the United States and Somalia was announced.
According to a press release regarding the agreement, “USAID will use the $92.6 million in development support to help Somalia build long-term resilience and stability, economic growth, governance improvements, opportunities for women and youth, and crucial health and education services. This support builds on nearly 17 years of foreign assistance from the American people to Somalia.”