OPEN LETTER FROM 40 ORGANIZATIONS SUPPORTING U.S.

HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE ACCOUNTS February 19, 2013 Dear Senator/Representative, Humanitarian needs resulting from conflicts and natural disasters around the world have increased dramatically over the course of the last year. We write to express deep concern that current resource levels for humanitarian assistance are not sufficient to meet these challenges, which will prove harmful to both U.S. interests and millions of vulnerable people requiring lifesaving assistance. Therefore we urge Congress to ensure that the levels approved for the remainder of Fiscal Year (FY) 2013 are commensurate with humanitarian need. Several emergencies have intensified over the course of the current year and present new needs that were not anticipated when the President sent his FY 2013 budget to Congress on Monday, February 13, 2012. Syria continues to descend into chaos, reaching new depths of human suffering and displacement with each passing day. In May of 2012, just 70,000 refugees had fled their homes to other countries to escape the conflict. As of this month, nearly 770,000 people have poured into five neighboring countries, with the total expected to rise to over one million by June. Humanitarian needs arising from this crisis are estimated at $1.5 billion dollars through just June of this year; a figure that has more than doubled since September of 2012. A strong response to the crisis in Syria is imperative, but doing so further depletes overstretched U.S. humanitarian assistance accounts: International Disaster Assistance (IDA), Migration and Refugee Assistance (MRA); P.L. 480 Title II Food Assistance and Emergency Migration and Refugee Assistance (ERMA). This strain is compounded by urgent new needs in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, evolving crises in Mali and Sudan and ongoing food insecurity in the Sahel. It is also cause for great concern regarding how a response would be mounted if another disaster were to strike during the 2013 fiscal year. This escalation of humanitarian needs comes as sequestration threatens to further curtail available humanitarian resources. As the current Continuing Resolution expires, we urge you to take steps to increase the humanitarian accounts to levels approved by the relevant Senate committees for FY2013. Should another Continuing Resolution be passed, these accounts should be adjusted to reflect needs which have increased dramatically from when the FY 2012 Consolidated Appropriations Act was passed by Congress on December 23, 2011. Without these alterations we fear that the U.S. agencies that oversee humanitarian response will be put in an impossible position, choosing between saving lives in one country over another. We also ask that any additional resources not come from other critical poverty fighting accounts within the International Affairs budget, which will also be under pressure as a result of sequestration. With more people displaced by conflict around the world than at any other point in the last 15 years, we simply cannot afford to step back our humanitarian assistance programs now.

Thank you for your consideration. Sincerely,
1. Adeso 2. Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA), International 3. African Medical & Research Foundation 4. American Jewish World Service 5. American Refugee Committee 6. Ananda Marga Universal Relief Team (AMURT) 7. ANERA 8. Basic Education Coalition 9. CARE 10. Catholic Relief Services 11. Church World Service 12. Concern Worldwide 13. Counterpart International 14. Ethiopian Community Development Council 15. Food for the Hungry (FH) 16. Friends of ACTED 17. Global Communities 18. Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS) 19. Helen Keller International 20. InterAction 21. International Medical Corps 22. International Relief & Development 23. International Rescue Committee 24. Life for Relief and Development 25. Lutheran World Relief 26. Mennonite Central Committee U.S. 27. Mercy Corps 28. Mercy-USA for Aid and Development 29. Millennium Water Alliance 30. Pathfinder International 31. Physicians for Peace 32. Refugees International 33. RefugePoint 34. Relief International 35. US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI) 36. US Fund for UNICEF 37. U.S. International Council on Disabilities 38. Women's Refugee Commission 39. World Society for the Protection of Animals 40. World Vision

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