'In the next major Haiti, Tsunami, or Darfur, the U.S. might simply fail to show up.'
NEW YORK, Feb. 23, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In an attempt to halt U.S. budget cuts that could be "devastating" to disaster victims, displaced people and refugees throughout the world, Church World Service has joined several humanitarian agencies in appealing to lawmakers now deliberating the nation's proposed spending plan for 2011.
In a February 22 letter to House Speaker John Boehner, House Majority leader Eric Cantor and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, CWS and leaders of the nation's foremost faith-based and humanitarian agencies made the case that draconian cuts outlined in H.R. 1 would severely hinder the capacity of the United States to mount effective humanitarian response efforts around the world.
The coalition's letter posed the scenario that, "in the next major global humanitarian crisis - the next Haiti, Tsunami, or Darfur – the United States might simply fail to show up."
"Church World Service has been responding to disasters since we first sent shipments of badly needed food to starving people in post-World War II Europe more than 60 years ago," says CWS Executive Director and CEO John L. McCullough. "There still are millions of people, from those mired in poverty to those who have been forced out of their homes, who need our assistance and protection," McCullough added.
The letter to the House leaders states, "The bill cuts global disaster aid by 67 percent, global refugee assistance by 45 percent and global food relief by 41 percent relative to FY10 enacted levels."
The letter acknowledges the wisdom of reducing the national debt but cautions lawmakers against abrupt, deep reductions in spending on humanitarian assistance because such cuts "would imperil the longstanding U.S. commitment to provide lifesaving humanitarian assistance for those threatened by disaster and conflict."
Citing America's ability to respond to global disasters like the drought that now threatens the Horn of Africa and the nearly 40 million refugees and displaced persons around the world who would be affected if funds are cut, the letter's signers urged House leaders to fully fund the programs at 2010 levels.
To not do so, they wrote, could lead to outcomes that would be "devastating - for the world's refugees and conflict victims, for U.S. interests, and for the United States' standing and reputation as a global leader."
Along with McCullough, signers of the letter included heads of ADRA International, American Jewish World Service, American Refugee Committee, CARE, Catholic Relief Services, CHF International, ChildFund International, Food for the Hungry, Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, International Medical Corps, International Relief and Development, International Relief Teams, International Rescue Committee, Jesuit Refugee Service/USA, Life for Relief & Development, Lutheran World Relief, Mercy Corps, Oxfam America, Refugees International, Relief International, Resolve, Save the Children, Unitarian Universalist Service Committee, US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, Women's Refugee Commission, World Food Program - USA, World Hope International, and World Vision.
Founded in 1946, Church World Service is an international humanitarian agency working with partner organizations throughout the world to eradicate hunger and poverty, provide emergency response, sustainable development and refugee assistance and to promote peace and justice.
Text of the letter is at:
SOURCE CHURCH WORLD SERVICE