Africa Regional Media Hub | August 18 Telephonic Press Briefing on U.S. Funding for the Humanitarian Crisis in South Sudan

EVENT:

Please join us on Thursday, August 18, 2016, at 1230 GMT for a telephonic press conference with USAID Assistant Administrator for Democracy, Conflict, and Humanitarian Assistance David Harden and USAID Assistant Administrator for Africa Linda Etim. The speakers will announce additional U.S. funding for the humanitarian response to the crisis in South Sudan.

BACKGROUND:

In South Sudan, more than 2.5 million people have fled their homes since fighting broke out in December 2013. The most recent surge in violence has worsened the already dire humanitarian situation. Nearly 40 percent of the population now faces life-threatening hunger, with some people on the brink of famine. Food security conditions are at their worst since South Sudan gained independence in 2011.

Warring parties have terrorized and abused innocent civilians, especially women and girls. Compounding the devastating circumstances in South Sudan, humanitarian workers have been killed or are missing, harassed, assaulted or expelled from the country. Armed actors have looted food and other humanitarian supplies. Deliberate attacks on the women, children, and men who receive humanitarian assistance continue to worsen an already critical situation.

The new funding includes nearly 58,000 metric tons of food aid and specialty nutrition products, along with emergency health and nutrition services, safe drinking water, hygiene supplies, and cholera treatment and prevention messaging to stem the current outbreak. USAID partners have also expanded medical and psychosocial support services for survivors of gender-based violence. To deliver this aid, our UN and non-governmental partners must overcome significant obstacles and risks to their own personal safety. We commend their courage and dedication. We also demand that all parties allow humanitarians unfettered access to those in need and cease violations of humanitarian principles.

The United States continues to stand by the people of South Sudan and remains the largest donor of humanitarian assistance, providing more than $1.7 billion since the conflict began, in addition to community level peace-building programs, long-term development assistance such as basic education and health services, and support for South Sudanese civil society and independent media. Despite the tremendous efforts of aid workers, no amount of humanitarian aid will end the violence or provide lasting solutions to this man-made crisis. We demand accountability of those responsible for violations of fundamental human rights, and urge the country's leaders to prioritize the needs of their people.

DETAILS:

Speakers: USAID Assistant Administrator for Democracy, Conflict, and Humanitarian Assistance David Harden and USAID Assistant Administrator for Africa Linda Etim.

Date: August 18, 2016

Time: 12:30 GMT | 08:30 EDT

* Please use Time Zone Converter to determine the start time of the event in your time zone.

Language:English. French and Portuguese interpretation will be offered.

Ground rules:On the record

Dial-in Info: To be provided once you RSVP

RSVP: RSVP to afmediahub@state.gov. Please indicate if you will dial in (specifyEnglish/French/Portuguese line), or request that we dial out to you (provide the phone number and language to be used).

Twitter:We will use the hashtags #SouthSudan for the call. Follow us on @AfricaMediaHub, @USAID_DCHA, @theOFDA, @USAIDFFP, and @USAIDSouthSudan.

LOGISTICS:

Callers should dial-in to the conference call 10-15 minutes early.

When an individual journalist dials-in, the operator will collect the caller's name, press affiliation, and location. When an embassy dials in, the operator will ask the embassy's name and location.

The moderator will facilitate the Q and A among the connected callers. Journalists on the conference call will be instructed to press the *rdquo; and 1rdquo; buttons on their phones in order to enter the question queue. NOTE: You can press *1rdquo; at any time during the call to join the question queue, even before the moderator begins the Q and A portion. We ask that journalists limit themselves to one question and indicate to which speaker the question is directed. Journalists can also submit questions in English to afmediahub@state.gov prior to or during the call.

BIOs:

R. David Harden

Assistant Administrator for the Bureau for Democracy, Conflict, and Humanitarian Assistance

R. David Harden is the USAID Assistant Administrator for the Bureau for Democracy, Conflict, and Humanitarian Assistance (DCHA), where he leads over 800 team members in nine offices focused on emergency preparedness, crisis prevention, and promoting resilient societies. Mr. Harden was confirmed by the U.S. Senate as USAID's Assistant Administrator for DCHA in June 2016.

Before his arrival to DCHA, Mr. Harden was the USAID West Bank and Gaza Mission Director beginning July 2013. Prior to this, he was the Deputy Mission Director for the USAID Mission in Iraq where he managed a multi-year $1.3 billion portfolio focused on governance (including capacity development in the health and education sectors), democracy and economic growth.

Mr. Harden is an experienced Middle East veteran, having also served for three years as the Senior Advisor to the Special Envoy for Middle East Peace. Based in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, he helped shape and implement United States policy toward Palestinian economic and institutional development as well as Israeli security related to Palestinian trade. From 2005-2009, Mr. Harden was the USAID West Bank and Gaza Deputy Mission Director.

In September 2011, Mr. Harden also established the first USAID presence in Libya. He was part of a small expeditionary, inter-agency team charged to re-open the embassy, re-establish basic operations, respond to the humanitarian needs during and immediately after the war, and assist with the political transition from Qaddafi rule.

Mr. Harden served as the USAID Regional Legal Advisor in Central Asia from 2003-2005 and in South Asia from 1999-2003.

He has studied Arabic, Russian and Bangla. Mr. Harden earned his Juris Doctorate from Georgetown University. He received a Master of Arts in Political Science from Columbia University and a Bachelor of Arts in Government from Franklin and Marshall College. Before entering the Foreign Service, Mr. Harden worked as a corporate lawyer in New York City and Charlotte, North Carolina and earlier served as a consultant in Peshawar, Pakistan and as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Botswana.

Mr. Harden is married to Sharon Albright Harden, a lawyer and consultant and they have three teenage children: Tyler, Ryan and Waverly. He is a native of Westminster, Maryland.

Linda Etim

Assistant Administrator for Africa

Linda Etim was sworn in as USAID's Assistant Administrator for Africa in December 2015. In this capacity, she is responsible for more than $7 billion of assistance funding to 46 countries, in 29 regional and bilateral missions across sub-Saharan Africa.

Most recently, Ms. Etim served as USAID's Deputy Assistant Administrator for Africa where she oversaw USAID's support to the United States' goals of stabilizing fragile states and promoting transformational development through the full range of foreign assistance programming. This includes, promoting peace and security, democracy, good governance, agricultural development, free markets and economic integration, a sustainable environment, improved human health, education and the delivery of humanitarian assistance in times of need.

From 2009-2012, Ms. Etim served on the National Security Council as the Director for East African Affairs, where she was responsible for coordinating U.S. policy on some of the African continent's most important challenges, including civil-military affairs, governance, economic growth, and humanitarian crises in the Horn of Africa.

Previously, Ms. Etim spent over a decade as a specialist in African security affairs for the Department of Defense and Intelligence Community.

Ms. Etim received a bachelor's degree from the University of Wisconsin in African International Affairs, French, and Portuguese.

Source: U.S. Department of State.

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