The White House
President George W. Bush
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For Immediate Release
February 1, 2003

Extending America's Compassion to the World's Neediest Citizens

Today's Presidential Action

  • In his weekly Radio Address, President Bush outlined an important new effort to combat famine and hunger worldwide. The President announced:

    Background on Today's Presidential Action

  • Today in Africa, 30 million people are at risk of starvation or are facing severe food shortages, including 14 million people in Ethiopia alone. Many African nations are also facing the ravages of the HIV/AIDS pandemic, and persistent hunger makes their citizens even more vulnerable to this plague.

  • Famine is a completely preventable tragedy with the right policies, including effective use of early warning systems, flexible response mechanisms, broad engagement from traditional and non-traditional donors, and sound policy choices in countries at risk. Countries can be helped to increase agricultural productivity through technological advances, trade opportunities and the right policies, thereby preventing future famines.

  • But too many of the world's citizens need immediate relief from famine. The United States is the world's largest contributor of food relief, contributing 52% of total contributions to the U.N. World Food Program's emergency operations, and over 40% of contributions to the World Food Program's emergency appeals for Southern Africa last year.

  • The President's FY 2004 Budget recognizes the need for immediate famine relief by providing nearly $1.2 billion for emergency aid to alleviate hunger, establishing a $100 million Emergency Fund for Complex Foreign Crises, and creating a new $200 million Famine Fund to prevent and mitigate famine in developing countries.

  • President Bush has also urged other nations to follow America's lead by increasing donations or contributing for the first time, as well as by establishing their own emergency response funds to respond quickly and effectively to severe food crises. The United States is working with the G-8 to make this effort multilateral.

  • Today's announcement is another example of the President's commitment to extending America's compassion to address the world's toughest challenges. In his State of the Union Address, President Bush announced creation of the Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, a five-year, $15 billion initiative to turn the tide in the global effort to combat the HIV/AIDS pandemic. This initiative virtually triples U.S. support for combating international HIV/AIDS. It will prevent 7 million new infections; provide antiretroviral drugs for 2 million HIV-infected people; and care for 10 million HIV-infected individuals and AIDS orphans in the most affected countries in Africa and the Caribbean.

    For more information on the President's initiatives, please visit

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