Weekly Briefing (7/18/2011 – 7/22/2011)

July 19 At a special State Department briefing on the Horn of Africa, CNN reported that USAID Deputy Administrator Donald Steinberg stated that the Agency’s Famine Early Relief Warning System predicted the crisis and in August 2010, started pre-positioning supplies in South Africa and other areas near the crisis region. On a longer-term basis, the State Department and USAID are working with the international community to implement a long-term “Feed the Future” program aimed at increasing agricultural productivity.

July 19 The Guardian reported that USAID and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation are partnering together to invest in improving sanitation services in poor countries over the next few years. The goal is to encourage the development of relevant tools and technologies that will improve basic sanitation around the world. An estimated 2.6 billion people do not have access to safe sanitation.

July 20 Voice of America featured a multimedia story on USAID’s response to the drought and food crisis in Somalia. During his trip to neighboring Kenya earlier this week, USAID Administrator Dr. Rajiv Shah visited refugee camps and announced the United States’ pledge of an additional $28 million to assist affected people in Somalia.