InterAction welcomes the Administration’s request for supplemental funding to address the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the COVID-19 pandemic.
Although the Administration’s generosity toward the Ukrainian people is a good first step, its proposed international COVID-19 response is woefully inadequate and sadly, the needs are compounded by the war in Ukraine. With Russia and Ukraine accounting for one-quarter of the global grains trade, food prices could continue to rise and drive millions more into hunger—a tragedy already exacerbated by the pandemic. According to the World Bank, 320 million more people lacked adequate access to food year-round in 2020 than in 2019.
Significantly more funds are needed to address the simultaneous and long-lasting impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, including food insecurity, learning loss, gender based-violence, and democratic backsliding. COVID-19 has hit the most vulnerable the hardest, making poor people poorer and denying children and youth education, nutrition, and meaningful work opportunities.
Supplemental funding to address the fallout of Russian aggression and the international impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic is critical and urgent but must complement the regular F.Y. 2022 appropriations efforts that support U.S. international assistance across the globe.
We urge the Administration to support and Congress to appropriate significantly more funding to address the simultaneous and long-lasting impacts of COVID-19.
We also urge Congress to support the Administration’s supplemental request for Ukraine as an initial response to this emerging crisis.
All supplemental resources must be additional and not come at the expense of ongoing programs.