When I’m a hungry, I walk a few steps from my dorm to the nearest dining hall. When I’m thirsty, I find the closest water bottle refill station. When I need a caffeine boost, I place my mobile order at Starbucks.
The ease of obtaining food is a luxury that I, as a U.S. citizen, don’t value enough. But, this affluence is simply a dream to millions of people globally.
As I drink my $5 Starbucks latte, the United Nations (UN) says 20 million human beings are suffering from famine across four countries in Africa: South Sudan, Somalia, Yemen and Nigeria.
The UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Stephen O’Brien has called this “the largest humanitarian crisis since the creation of the UN” in 1945.
UNICEF reported that the lives of 1.4 million children hang in the balance.
These numbers continue to grow while President Donald J. Trump simultaneously plans to cut foreign aid funds by about 28 percent in his proposed budget plan titled, “America First: A Budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again.”
A Foreign Policy report stated that the United States plans to completely eliminate the $326 million given to the International Organizations and Programs account; $130 million of this budget goes to fund UNICEF.
A 28 percent decrease in state and foreign aid will be used to increase military spending by 10 percent, according to Reuters. Simply put, money to save lives will be put toward taking lives.
Trump, the face of our country, is proving to the world that he plans to stick to his campaign promise of America first. But the disastrous effects for the 20 million people facing starvation can’t go unnoticed.
Trump’s budget cuts will likely worsen the outcomes of these four famines that are all declared to be already man-made.
The Yemen Civil War began in 2015, and thousands of civilians have suffered as a result of the fighting.
Of the 27 million people in Yemen, 2 million are internally displaced, 14.4 million are without access to clean drinking water and 17 million are described as without a reliable food source, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
Similarly, internal conflicts in South Sudan have led to famine.
Conflicts in one part of the country affect food prices and supplies in other areas. The UN News Centre reported that about half of the water sources in the country have been destroyed due to South Sudan’s ongoing fighting.
In Nigeria, 75 percent of the country’s water supply has been destroyed due to fighting between the Islamist militant group Boko Haram and the government, according to UNICEF.
Trump’s budget cuts to the UN could also affect peace-keeping forces, which are in much need in each of these countries during times of continuous warfare.
With global temperatures rising and irregular weather patterns threatening food supplies, developing countries continue to be hit the hardest. The UN reported that nearly one-third of Somalis need access to safe drinking water.
Trump’s budget plan also severely cuts funding to the Environmental Protection Agency, a decision that only worsens the famines as climate change promises to be the greatest humanitarian crisis of all.
Trump’s budget plan could worsen the four famines, endangering millions of lives.
Trump wishes to put America first, but contributing to global instability will only decrease our country’s safety.
Dramatically cutting funding to the United Nations, to which the United States has historically been the greatest contributor, will inevitably change the way humanitarian aid is provided.
We must consider what message we want the world to receive.
How should our country’s budget be divided? Perhaps the answer lies with a starving child lying in a refugee camp in Somalia without the basic necessity of food.