This post originally appeared on the White House Blog.
Over the past several months, the worst humanitarian crisis in the world has placed more than 13.3 million people across the Horn of Africa at risk – a greater number than the populations of New York and Los Angeles combined. Quickly becoming incomprehensible, the emergency has its roots in a devastating combination of famine, war and drought.
Last month, I announced the FWD campaign to raise awareness across America about this worsening situation.
Please join us this Wednesday, October 26th, at 12:30 p.m. EDT to learn about the steps we have taken to build this campaign by informing and engaging our friends and family in order to harness the compassion and generosity of the American people.
In a special “Open for Questions” event, Gayle Smith, Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director of the National Security Council, and I will take your questions during a live streamed event moderated by Jon Carson, Director of the Office of Public Engagement. Whether you are wondering about the famine, the global response to the crisis, or what you can do to help, we will be there to answer your questions.
We will also be releasing special public service announcements on the crisis from some familiar faces. You can submit your questions now through Facebook and Twitter, and during the live event:
Right now, submit your questions:
- On Facebook, ask a question on the USAID Facebook page or on the White House Facebook page
- On Twitter, send questions to me @RajShah or @USAID
Wednesday, October 26th at 12:30 p.m. EDT, we hope you’ll watch and participate:
- Watch live on WhiteHouse.gov/live or USAID.gov
- Ask questions through the White House Live app on Facebook
- Ask questions live with the hashtag #AskFWD
We know that these types of crises are preventable. Through Feed the Future, the U.S. Government is working with partner governments, smallholder farmers, and the private sector to help nations invest in agricultural development to avoid repeating this situation.
The engagement and generosity of the American people have always been a critical part of efforts to combat these kinds of tragedies. However, this crisis – slow in coming – has taken place under the radar of many Americans. Despite the magnitude of the crisis in the Horn of Africa, over half of the general public say that they have not seen, heard, or read anything about the drought and famine occurring in the Horn of Africa.
It is up to us to change that.