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Most Americans oblivious to the famine threatening 20 million people

by Alexa Liautaud
Jul 14 2017, 9:29am

The vast majority of Americans have no concrete knowledge about the world’s worst humanitarian crisis since World War II — and nearly 20 percent of Americans have never heard of it at all.

In fact, according to a new poll by the International Rescue Committee, only a mere 15 percent of Americans said they were aware of the mass starvation threatening up to 20 million people in Yemen, Somalia, South Sudan, and Nigeria.

The famine has been called “the largest humanitarian crisis in the history of the U.N.,” spanning four conflict-ridden African countries amid a tightening grip over the lives of tens of millions. Yemen is the largest humanitarian crisis in the world, with more than 7 million people hungry and hundreds of thousands more in the grips of a cholera epidemic. The famine piles on top of the world’s worst refugee crisis, in which 65 million people have been displaced from their homes.

And yet despite the majority of the U.S. registered voters polled not knowing about the crisis, 46 percent of them said that the United States should cut back on foreign aid unless it’s related to national security, the poll found.

For all the talk that millennials are self-absorbed, oblivious, and just glued to cellphones, those born between 1983 and 1998 were actually the most concerned about global hunger. And that’s been consistent for over 15 years, according to John Della Volpe, the director of polling at the Harvard Institute of Politics, who directed the poll for IRC.

“Since 2001, our polling has consistently found that millennials seek tangible ways to make an impact in their community, country, and the world,” said Volpe. “We can clearly see through these new results that America’s largest generation is ready to engage on one of the world’s greatest challenges and save the lives of tens of millions of people at risk of starvation.”

House Republicans revealed a bill Wednesday that would slash the United States’ foreign aid budget by $10 billion, not quite Trump’s proposed $17 billion, but still significant. On the same day, $1.6 billion was proposed to be added to the Department of Homeland Security’s budget to build the infamous U.S.-Mexico wall.

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