DeLauro Statement on Resolution Concerning theWorld Food Program Bombing in Pakistan
Washington, DC – Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (CT-3) delivered the following statement in support of her legislation H.Res. 823 that was passed by the House today, expressing condolences for the five UN World Food Program workers killed in a terrorist bombing in Islamabad, Pakistan on October 5, 2009, and support for the UN WFP’s mission to combat hunger around the world.
I rise in support of House Resolution 823, which expresses deep condolences to the families, friends, and colleagues of those killed and injured in the attack on the United Nations World Food Program (WFP) office in Islamabad, Pakistan, on October 5, 2009, and support for the WFP's mission to bring emergency food aid to the most vulnerable people of Pakistan and around the world. And we must condemn this reprehensible attack in the strongest of terms. All acts of terror are contemptible, but the murder of civilian workers engaged in humanitarian aid is particularly vile.
Fighting hunger and deprivation around the globe is a cause in which people give more than just their daily effort. It can be an all-consuming responsibility, and, as we saw in the horrible tragedy, it can even be a struggle in which people lose their lives.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families of those UN World Food Program workers who perished in this terrible bombing. Through their efforts and the efforts of countless others, the World Food Program feeds 10 million Pakistanis, including 2 million displaced by violence, each year. For people who have already sacrificed so much to alleviate suffering to be struck down by a wanton act of terrorism – it is unjust and senseless. We shall remember the fallen in our thoughts. And this resolution represents a small way of honoring them as we continue the struggle for which they gave their lives – to put an end to global hunger around the world.
For the first time in history, over one billion people – 1 in 6 – are undernourished worldwide. Every six seconds a child dies because of hunger and related causes. Because of higher food prices, the number of undernourished people in the world increased by 75 million in 2007 and 40 million in 2008. Even in America, there are 12 million children facing hunger and uncertainty right now. The continued existence of such famine in our day and age, even within our borders, is a moral outrage.
We have the resources and the ability to confront this kind of suffering in our world – what we need is the conscience and the will to put an end to it. The brave and compassionate aid workers who perished in the Pakistan blast had this in spades. They knew that prosperous nations cannot just remain islands of plenty in a sea of want. They recognized that we who have been fortunate have a moral obligation to speak up, to act, to meet our responsibilities to our fellow man and woman who are suffering, and to do what we can to end the scourge of hunger, in our own nations and around the world.
This moral imperative is shared by workers in the World Food Program in the Sudan, where WFP trucks have been hijacked and drivers kidnapped and killed; in Somalia, where WFP provides 43 percent of the population with its basic food; and in places all around the world where men and women give their all, and literally lay their lives on the line, to ensure that starving people have enough to eat. It is also shared by many of us here in Congress, and today this Congress honors their cause, their labor, and their sacrifice.
In this season of political turmoil and economic uncertainty, I believe it is particularly important that we reaffirm the memory of these murdered workers, and renew our commitment to ending global hunger. Put simply, this is a national security issue.
Hunger – gnawing, unyielding – forces people into desperate acts and dangerous pacts. Famine and starvation create the conditions for militant extremism around the world, the very same extremism that killed these five in Pakistan. We fight hunger, and we undercut the recruiting base of those who would threaten us. As former National Security Advisor Sandy Berger recently reminded us in the LA Times, “Ensuring that no child goes to school hungry is the single greatest investment we can make in building prosperous, healthy and stable societies.”
The World Food Program has long understood this. For almost fifty years, it has worked to feed the suffering and malnourished citizens of our planet. In 2008, their operation reached over 102 million poor and hungry people in 78 countries with 3.9 million tons of food. And they have worked to eliminate not only hunger but its root causes: Their programs have included school feeding, mother and child nutrition and even socio-economic development programs that improve school enrollment rates for girls, access to health care services, and economic opportunities for rural women.
In short, the World Food Program is doing wonderful work for the people of Pakistan, the people of the United States, and the people of the world. We laud their humanitarian efforts, as we condemn the cruelty and malice that perpetrated such a deplorable atrocity in Islamabad on October 5th. For the fallen, for their families and friends, and for hungry men, women, and children all around the world, our fight against global hunger will go on.
I strongly urge my colleagues to support this resolution, and reaffirm their commitment to this cause.