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Washington, D.C. – Bread for the World today urged the administration and Congress to continue financial assistance to Central America’s Northern Triangle—Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador. The organization says that cutting aid would exacerbate the hunger and violence that force people to flee their homes and thus increase migration. Bread for the World’s president, Rev. David Beckmann, recently visited Guatemala.
“I traveled to the Huehuetenango region of Guatemala, where the number of emigrants per capita is higher than anywhere else in Central America. The drought-affected region has expanded, and farm families have been left with virtually nothing to eat. In this desperate situation, U.S. food aid is clearly moderating the pressure to migrate,” Beckmann said.
“USAID programs also strengthen the capacity of the police and courts to deal with gang violence. Throughout Guatemala, nongovernmental organizations are improving nutrition and job opportunities.”
According to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, hunger is one of the primary reasons that families from Central America flee their home countries. Nearly half of Guatemala’s children are chronically malnourished. Malnutrition kills many young children and causes irreversible damage to those who survive, including lifelong health problems, difficulty learning in school, and stunted physical development.
In Guatemala, where USAID-funded agriculture programs have been implemented, there has been a 15 percent decrease in poverty and a 12 percent decrease in stunting among children under 5.
“U.S. government assistance allows many desperate parents who are trying to give their children a better future to stay close to family and friends and contribute to their communities rather than fleeing to the United States,” Beckmann said. “It is the right thing to do and the smart thing to do.”
Afghanistan would be considered likely to have high rates of hunger because at least two of the major causes of global hunger affect it—armed conflict and fragile governmental institutions.
Malnutrition is responsible for nearly half of all preventable deaths among children under 5. Every year, the world loses hundreds of thousands of young children and babies to hunger-related causes.
Bread for the World is calling on the Biden-Harris administration and Congress to build a better 1,000-Days infrastructure in the United States.
“As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him and established in faith.” These words from Colossians 2:6 remind us of the faith that is active in love for our neighbors.
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