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Congresswoman Sara Jacobs’ Resolution Condemning Use of Hunger as Weapon of War Passes House Foreign Affairs Committee

Congresswoman Sara Jacobs’ (CA-53) bipartisan resolution condemning the use of hunger as a weapon of war and recognizing the effect of conflict on global food security and famine passed the House Foreign Affairs Committee today. Russia has intentionally attacked agriculture infrastructure in Ukraine, including fields, farm equipment, warehouses, markets, roads, bridges, and ports, causing wheat prices to rise by 80%. Around the world, 45 million people in 43 countries face emergency or catastrophic levels of acute food insecurity, which could be exacerbated by armed conflict.

Watch Video of Congresswoman Sara Jacobs’ Remarks Here

During the markup of the resolution, Congresswoman Jacobs said:

“Thank you, Mr. Chair, and thank you to so many of my colleagues here for supporting my resolution condemning the use of hunger as a weapon of war and recognizing the effect of conflict on global food security and famine.

“I also want to thank Congressman Meijer for partnering with me on this bipartisan resolution.

“Even before the Russian invasion of Ukraine, we have seen how climate change, the pandemic, and conflict fuel food crises around the world — in Yemen, Syria, Ethiopia, South Sudan… and now Russia’s invasion has made all of these situations worse. 

“Putin has repeatedly weaponized food during this war, blockading Odessa and recently striking the port — even after a landmark grain deal was struck just the day before. But we also have to recognize that we can’t only sound the alarm and mobilize aid and attention when and where humanitarian crises affect people who look like us. Around the world, millions are hungry and suffering as a direct result of Putin’s relentless crusade for power.

“Oxfam and Save the Children estimate that more than 23 million people in the Horn of Africa are facing extreme hunger because of Russia’s invasion. 

“Afghanistan continues to face an acute humanitarian crisis - where 23 million people face severe food insecurity. Haiti imports 70% of its food, mainly from Russia and Canada and today, 45% of the Haitian population faces acute hunger. In Ethiopia, 12 million people in Tigray, Amhara, and Afar are in dire need of humanitarian assistance and rely on wheat imports from Ukraine and Russia. In South Sudan — where I just traveled — 12 million people are experiencing severe food insecurity and 2 million children under the age of 5 are facing acute malnutrition — the most extreme level of food insecurity in the country since it became independent in 2011.

“Just last week, I met with World Food Programme Director David Beasley who told me there is no longer a supply issue, it’s an access issue, meaning we have enough food to feed people around the world and stem these crises — but we have a challenge of logistics — whether that’s due to costs, locations, or the direct targeting of agriculture and food transportation hubs.

“That’s why it’s so important that we, as a body, recognize these impacts, condemn starvation of civilians as a weapon of war, and call on the United States government — here in Congress and in the Administration — to continue addressing these crises and hold perpetrators accountable.

“I am proud to lead this important resolution today, and I urge my colleagues to support it.”

Congresswoman Jacobs’ resolution is currently supported by 32 Members of Congress and is endorsed by 27 organizations including 1,000 Days, Action Against Hunger, Alliance for Peacebuilding, Bread for the World, Caux Scholars Program, Center for Policy Analysis of Horn of Africa, Charity & Security Network, Concern Worldwide US, EIHR: The Educators’ Institute for Human Rights, Food for the Hungry US, Friends Committee on National Legislation, Ghais Mediation & Facilitation, LLC, Islamic Relief USA, Medical Teams International, Mercy Corps, Nonviolent Peaceforce, Norwegian Refugee Council USA, Oxfam America, PartnersGlobal, Refugees International, Save the Children, The HALO Trust (USA), The Hunger Project, UNICEF USA, World Food Program USA, World Vision, and Young Adult Empowerment Initiatives.