- Leading relief NGOs, in joint letter, warn that House budget cuts jeopardize life-saving disaster relief
- World Vision calls on Senate to reverse cuts to effective humanitarian assistance in U.S. budget
Washington, DC, February 23, 2011—As U.S. Senate lawmakers prepare to decide on fiscal 2011 spending next week, World Vision
and other top humanitarian relief agencies call on them to restore the funding stripped away from effective and life-saving international disaster assistance and development programs in a bill approved by the House.
The budget resolution approved by the House on Feb. 19 would slash funding for foreign disaster assistance by more than two thirds (67 percent, $875 million) from FY 2010 enacted levels,
putting in jeopardy America’s ability to prepare for and respond to
the next major earthquake, tsunami or flood.
“These cuts are so drastic they will cripple America’s ability to respond to future disasters and forfeit our longstanding humanitarian leadership abroad,” said Robert Zachritz, government relations director for World Vision in the U.S. “They are disproportionate and devastating to America’s humanitarian mission, jeopardizing the success of emergency preparedness and response, as well as development initiatives.”
More than two dozen leading organizations that implement U.S.-led disaster responses on the ground, including World Vision
, today released a joint letter to Congressional leadership stating: “The United States has – with strong bipartisan support – long been the backbone of worldwide humanitarian response,” saving hundreds of thousands of lives each year. But with these cuts, the U.S. “might simply fail to show up.”
The letter cites instances where the U.S. would forfeit strategic leadership, and reminds lawmakers that emergency appropriations made after a disaster has occurred are too late and insufficient for effective disaster response, which requires resources and preparedness.World Vision
, which responded to nearly 80 emergencies last year including the Haiti earthquake
and Pakistan floods
, witnesses the positive impact such international programs make on the lives of the world’s most vulnerable people.
“While there is a real need to address the present budget crisis, these reductions target a tiny portion of the U.S. budget – just half of one percent of spending – at levels far outstripping the downsizing of other accounts,“ said Adam Taylor, vice president of advocacy for World Vision in the U.S.
The House resolution would
also reduce U.S. food aid programs by 41 percent ($687 million), development assistance by
30 percent ($747 million) and global health and childhood survival programs by 15 percent ($365 million).
“If the Senate allows these cuts to stand, it would in effect be crippling America’s ability to carry out its foreign policy objectives through humanitarian and development assistance,” said Taylor. “That’s neither smart foreign policy nor smart budgeting.”
”We are calling for this crucial support for the world’s most vulnerable to be restored, without depleting other cost-effective assistance measures for the poorest of the poor” said Taylor.
World Vision is a global Christian relief and development organization with one million American donors, representing every state and congressional district. This constituency demonstrates that a broad base of U.S. voters and taxpayers prioritize development, feeding the hungry and protecting vulnerable lives.World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families, and their communities worldwide reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. For more information, visit www.worldvision.org